A Self-Healing Polymer for a Sustainable Future

Read the full post in the ACS Green Chemistry Nexus blog.

Since the dawn of civilization, natural materials have been a fundamental part of human life and environment. However, in the 20th century, due to exploitation and high cost of natural resources, synthetic materials replaced natural materials. Recent advances in biotechnology and materials science have allowed the invention of eco-friendly materials that can be produced easily from sustainable resources in a broad array of useful applications including textile, cosmetic, and medicine. Proteins are key to the creation of many new, high strength materials.

Sustainable Rubber is No Stretch

Read the full post in the ACS Green Chemistry blog.

The list of companies joining the race towards sustainable rubber is growing. From startups to global chemical manufacturers, there’s a widespread push to develop high quality rubber that isn’t sourced from petroleum. Fluctuating oil prices, growing pressure to be sustainable, and virtually no domestic means of producing natural rubber are all fueling the search for a reliable, long-term solution.

Natural rubber and synthetic rubber each have their pros and cons. For example, most of the world’s natural rubber comes from Hevea brasiliensis plants, often called rubber trees, in Southeast Asia. This means there’s little to no geographic diversity in where natural rubber is sourced. On the other hand, natural rubber offers unequaled properties such as its ability to reinforce tires under the pressure of trucks and airplanes .  New technologies for producing rubber focus less on which type is “better” and more on how to make the production of durable rubber more sustainable, efficient and cost-effective.

Ford Looks to Lizards to Increase Recyclability, Improve Adhesives

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Ford is looking to create adhesives inspired by the gecko.

The automaker will also work with Procter & Gamble, sharing research findings as both companies look to biomimicry for a host of business solutions.

Optimizing Recycling: Criteria for Comparing and Improving Recycled Feedstocks in Building Products

Download the document.

Global industry has made progress toward a world in which more efficient use of resources, including recycling, helps to reduce impacts on the natural systems that support life. However, contamination of recycled-content raw material (or “feedstock”) with potentially toxic substances reduces feed-stock value, impedes growth of recycling rates, and can endanger human and environmental health. This paper provides findings and recommendations about how progress in resource use efficiency and recycling can occur along with the production of healthier building products. This paper is based on the review of eleven common recycled-content feedstocks used to manufacture building materials that are sold in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. It provides manufacturers and purchasers  of building products, government agencies, and the recycling industry with recommendations for optimizing recycled-content feedstocks in building products to increase their value, marketability and safety.

Collaboration can save the Mississippi River Watershed

Read the full story in Ag Professional.

A diverse group of more than 400 businesses, associations, government agencies, science organizations, academic institutions and non-profit organizations released the first-ever report card evaluating the condition of one of our nation’s most storied and central waterways. This effort, known as America’s Watershed Initiative, was undertaken to provide information on the challenges facing the waters and lands that make up the 31-state Mississippi River Watershed and the 250 rivers that flow into it.

Click here for more information on the report card.

Fertilizer runoff feeds growth of harmful algal blooms

Read the full story at GoErie.

Over the past decade, Lake Erie’s western basin has been plagued with harmful algal blooms (HABs) with a devastating impact on marine life, tourism, recreational and commercial fisheries and drinking water. HABs have also reduced the amount of oxygen to such low levels that dead zones have been created in the central basin.

The science is clear that when excess amounts of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which plants need to grow, flow unchecked into waterways, they act as a “superfood,” causing the explosive growth of algae. In fact, the size of each summer’s bloom in Lake Erie is directly related to the amount of dissolved phosphorus that flows into the lake from the rivers and streams that feed it.

As the Fracking Boom Spreads, One Watershed Draws the Line

Read the full story at Yale Environment360.

After spreading across Pennsylvania, fracking for natural gas has run into government bans in the Delaware River watershed. The basins of the Delaware and nearby Susquehanna River offer a sharp contrast between what happens in places that allow fracking and those that do not.