Bacteria are everywhere. Therefore, it’s a safe assumption that they should also be present in plastic recycle factories. With this line of reasoning Japanese researchers took 250 soil samples in the piles of waste and the wastewater of a recycle factory in the Japanese city Sakai. There they hoped to find a microbe, which, after years of inhabiting the plastic pool, had naturally evolved the ability to digest plastic (polyethylene terephthalate, or PET to be exact).
Storing leftover food with plastic wrap is a fair way of keeping your food fresh for a longer time. However, this material is quite limited because what it does is just sealing everything off from oxygen. Researchers at the National University of Singapore have successfully developed a natural chitosan-based and environmentally-friendly film with grapefruit seed extract able to improve food safety, conservation and quality.
According to a new study, humankind is now entering the “Age of Plastic”. The research investigates the evidence that we are living in the Anthropocene, a time in which humanity is the main geological force. Jan Zalasiewicz, Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester, explained: “Plastics were more or less unknown to our grandparents, when they were children. But now, they are indispensible to our lives”.
People involved into plastic matters predict that in the next thirty years the consumption of this particular and malleable material will go from the current 300-400 million tons to the double amount, at least. Plastic, or rather plastics were born from petroleum-derived polymers and had immediate success thanks to their mechanical and chemical properties and the low purchase cost.
We love buying shiny new gadgets every now and then, but have you ever wondered where your old device ends up when you get rid of it? Agbogbloshie in Ghana is one of the places where electronics, such as computers, mobile phones and televisions, go to die.
Eco-friendly fashion is in vogue, evidenced by terms like “recycled-material” and “sustainable manufacturing” battered around as selling points for everything from sheets to shoes. So, despite how easy it is to hide the source of a material, when designers venture into this brand of lifestyle-fashion the incentive it to reveal, not mask, a product’s recycled roots. Take the new Adidas concept shoe, crafted with recycled materials gathered from the oceans.
Imagine humankind would magically disappear from the planet today. We would leave the ruins of cities, roads, cars and… plastics. Since its invention in 1907, plastic steadily worked its way into the geology of Earth. As plastics hardly break down they could survive humankind.
Artist Britt Duppen envisions that, in due time, new species might evolve that could feed on plastic. Her speculative ‘Plastivore’ bird (Latin for ‘plastic eater’, plasticio meaning ‘plastic’ or ‘food that contains particles of plastic’ and vorare meaning ‘to devour’) thrives on a diet of fungi and plastics.