PNNL advances science to convert plastics to fuels

Read the full story from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

At the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists discovered a promising approach to make it easier to turn petroleum-based plastic waste into chemicals that can be used to produce new materials and fuels.

Beyond the Plastic Bag: Sparking a Seachange for Reuse

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While we know the greenest bag is the one a customer already owns, and the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag is advancing research and testing to increase instances of customers bringing their own bags, the focus of this report is specific to the testing of reusable bag systems undertaken in summer 2021. We share our learnings from conducting first-of-a-kind reusable bag pilots across select CVS Health, Target and Walmart stores, where customers could “borrow” a bag and use it multiple times before returning it at the same or a different brand’s store to be washed, redistributed and reused by other customers.

The Great Lakes are awash in plastic. Can robots and drones help?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

These remote-control devices raise the profile about the growing problem of plastics in the lakes that provide one-fifth of the world’s freshwater.

His family fished for generations. Now he’s hauling plastic out of the sea.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

One catch at a time, Lefteris Arapakis is cleaning the Mediterranean.

Webinar: What still challenges us to detect microplastics and nanoplastics in the environment?

Nov 10, 2022, noon CST
Register here.

Microplastics have been identified in many aquatic environments and are considered as sources and transport vectors for toxic chemicals (e.g., heavy metals and POPs) or pathogenic microorganisms. In our research group, we have been investigating the colloidal properties and photochemical aging/weathering of microplastics as well as the release of potentially toxic substances from the weathered microplastics. In this presentation, I will briefly introduce my own microplastic research and primarily focus on the introduction of challenges of microplastics and nanoplastics detection and identification due to their small sizes and interferences from size-dependent and extrinsic factors such as surface contamination or coating by organic matters or additives. I will also give an overview of the latest research results utilizing various of novel technologies/techniques for separation from environmental media (e.g., water or soil) and characterization. I will also introduce a few recent studies that demonstrated the use of scanning probe microscope, AFM combined with IR/Raman, sequential pyrolysis (Pyr-GC/MS) and thermal desorption pyrolysis (TD-Pyr-GC/MS) for ultrafine plastics particle analysis.

Speaker: Wen Zhang is currently an associate professor of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a second appointment in the Department of Chemical and Material Engineering. Wen is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) registered in the States of New Jersey and Delaware. He is an American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE). Dr. Wen Zhang’s research focuses on colloidal interfaces and processes that are crucial for environmental and chemical engineering applications. His research embraces environmental behavior and interfacial processes for nanomaterials, microplastics and soft particles such as microbes and bubbles, catalytic/reactive membrane filtration systems for desalination, resource recovery and emerging contaminant removal, photocatalysis, microalgal removal and harvesting. His lastest research also expands from agricultural applications of nanobubbles to lithium recovery from spent lithium ion batteries.

Collision course: Will the plastics treaty slow the plastics rush?

Read the full story in The Revelator.

A massive new plastics plant will soon start operating in Pennsylvania, even as support grows for international limits on plastic production.

Emerging plastics recycling technologies: Where are they headed?

Waste360 recently did a two-part series on emerging plastic recycling technologies. Part 1 reviews the findings of a recent report funded by Dow Chemical entitled Rethinking Plastics in a Circular Economy. Part 2 looks at where the technologies are headed.

Prescribing solutions for medical plastics

Read the full story in Recycling Today.

Efforts to address plastic devices used in health care include recycling, depolymerizing, even refurbishing some devices.

Finnish lab claims mixed plastics breakthrough

Read the full story at Recycling Today.

The Espoo, Finland-based VTT Technical Research Centre says, after four decades of thermal conversion technology development, it is ready to commercialize a process it says “can affordably convert most of the world’s waste plastics back to usable virgin grade materials an infinite number of times.”

VTT says it will begin introducing its Olefy technology in October and that it has submitted eight patent applications for the process.

Its plans include the creation of a new company called Olefy Technologies that will put into place the new technology VTT says “can extract over 70 percent virgin grade plastics and chemical raw materials components from plastic waste.”

Hold the Plastic, Please: A Restaurant’s Guide to Reducing Plastic

Beyond Plastics has created a practical guide to help restaurants reduce their plastic use and effectively communicate the resulting changes to their customers, the media, and the general public. The guide offers practical advice, tools, and resources, as well as case studies of two restaurants that have successfully reduced their plastic use.