Turning Plastic Grocery Bags into Sustainable Fuel

In Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, by AIP Publishing, researchers from Caltech report using catalytic pyrolysis to turn plastic wastes into a valuable fuel source. They focused on recycling plastic and upgrading plastic into other products or converting it to a vapor with heat, which met a catalyst and turned into the desired fuel-like product.

UCI becomes two-time recipient of STARS Platinum rating for sustainability efforts

For a second time, the University of California, Irvine has achieved a rare platinum rating through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, maintaining its status as one of the environmentally outstanding universities in the world.

Bio-based coating for wood outperforms traditional synthetic options

Researchers have used lignin, a natural polymer abundant in wood and other plant sources, to create a safe, low-cost and high-performing coating for use in construction. The coating is non-toxic, hydrofobic, it retains wood’s breathability and natural roughness while being resistant to colour changes and abrasion.

Turning Plastic into Foam to Combat Pollution

In Physics of Fluids, researchers have developed a method to turn biodegradable plastic knives, spoons, and forks into a foam that can be used as insulation in walls or in flotation devices. The investigators placed the cutlery into a chamber filled with carbon dioxide. As pressure increased, the gas dissolved into the plastic. When they suddenly released the pressure in the chamber, the carbon dioxide expanded within the plastic, creating foaming.

Battery parts can be recycled without crushing or melting

Researchers at Aalto University have discovered that electrodes in lithium batteries containing cobalt can be reused as is after being newly saturated with lithium. In comparison to traditional recycling, which typically extracts metals from crushed batteries by melting or dissolving them, the new process saves valuable raw materials, and likely also energy.

The Future Looks Bright for Infinitely Recyclable Plastic

Plastics are ubiquitous, but they’re not practical. Less than 10% are recycled, and the other ~8 billion tons are creating a pollution crisis. A Berkeley Lab team is determined to change that. A new analysis shows producing and recycling their game-changing new plastic could be easy and cheap enough to leave old plastics in the dust.

Is battery recycling environmentally friendly?

In a new study, researchers at Aalto University have investigated the environmental effects of a hydrometallurgical recycling process for electric car batteries. The carbon footprint of the raw material obtained by the recycling process studied is 38% smaller than that of the virgin raw material. The difference is even greater if copper and aluminium recovered during mechanical pre-treatment are included.

Polystyrene waste is everywhere; scientists just found a way to break it down

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and their partners from Clemson University have discovered a green, low-energy process to break down polystyrene, a type of plastic that is widely used in foam packaging materials, disposable food containers, cutlery, and many other applications.

Paper or Plastic? OU Chemical Engineers Work to Make Plastic Bags Recyclable and Compostable

Single-use plastic bags continue to pose a global environmental challenge, as their composition and form makes them difficult to recycle, and hundreds of years are required for them to degrade fully in the environment. While reusabable shopping bags offer an earth-friendly option, what if plastic bags could be recycled or placed in our composts?

NSF Awards OU Faculty Member $2 Million Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Grant

Not all plastics are created equally – from milk jugs and soda bottles, which are readily recyclable, to multi-layered packaging that increases shelf life and requires less material but is less recyclable – the challenge is for researchers to design a process that allows more of the plastics we use in our everyday lives to end up in our recycle bins rather than the local landfill.

A new way to unprint paper using intense pulsed light from a xenon lamp.

New Unprinting Method Can Help Recycle Paper and Curb Environmental Costs

Rutgers-led study shows the benefits of removing toner with pulses of intense xenon light Imagine if your printer had an “unprint” button that used pulses of light to remove toner, curbing environmental impacts compared with conventional paper recycling. A Rutgers-led…