Guest post: One word: plastics

Originally a comment by John Wasson on Plastics.

The ubiquity of plastics is incredible.

Mary Jo DiLonardo “Microplastics Found Near the Top of Mount Everest” November 20, 2020

Rowan Jacobsen, “An Ocean Plastics Field Trip for Corporate Executives”, Outside August 8, 2019

There may be some progress replacing ‘plastic’ made from fossil.

Clare Watson “Scientists Created a New Recyclable Plastic Not Made From Crude Oil” 29 March 2023

Allison Christy and Scott Phillips describe making a new type of plastic based on poly(ethyl cyanoacrylate) or PECA, which is prepared from the monomer used to make Super Glue.

Small-scale lab experiments replicating industrial processes suggest roughly 93 percent of the new plastic could be recycled into clean starter materials – even when the plastic is mixed in with other unprocessed plastic waste, paper, and aluminum.

Alice Klein “New type of plastic may be infinitely recyclable”

Eugene Chan et al (Colorado State U) PBTL from bicyclic tholactones has excellent strength, toughness and stability to make packaging, sports equipment, car parts, construction materials. Recycled (on its own after separation from other plastics) by heating to 100 C in presence of catalyst for 24 hours breaks into original building blocks. (Science Avances,

New Scientist Aug. 29 2020 p. 20

On the other hand,

Sami Grover “Undercover Tape: How Exxon Is Lobbying to Make Plastics the Norm” August 13, 2021

Exxon is working hard to promote plastics recycling as a strategy to divert attention away from bans and regulations.

The polymer industry in the U.S. is pretty much integrated with the petrochemical industry.

Lloyd Alter “Fossil Fuel Companies Are Fueling a Global Plastics Binge; What Will We Do With It All? ” Updated October 11, 2018

Fossil fuel companies are building hundreds of new “cracking” facilities to make 40 percent more plastic.

And remember the classic lines in “The Graduate”

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