Does Single-Use Plastic Really Harm the Environment?

Experts are claiming that there has yet to be solid proof that the use of reusable bags may actually save the environment.

“We don’t know if they’re better and that’s the problem,” said Mark Anthony Browne of the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Lately, discussions on the use of single-use plastic have been brought again to public attention, following the groundbreaking documentary of Australian journalist Craig Leeson, titled “A Plastic Ocean.” The said documentary depicted “how devastating plastic waste can be to our environment,” said a report.

“A Plastic Ocean” reported that half of the nearly 300 million tons of plastic produced annually is single-use plastics. Out of that, the Jakarta Post said, “eight million tons end up in our oceans every year.” To drive the point, the documentary used videos where animals such as dolphins and animal carcass were seen either having plastic stuck in its fin and died for having ingested plastic, respectively.

This has led to a worldwide campaign, sprouting in many countries, calling for the banning of single-use plastics.

Still, Browne countered this, saying that the issue is “whether the alternatives people are going for are going to be better.”

He also alleged that “for each of those scenarios we need to understand the likely emissions and impacts. We need scientists to go and look at that but scientists have been excluded from the conversation so it is impossible to find an answer. We need proper science so we know people are making the right choices.”

Meanwhile, well-meaning cities, companies, and fast food giants such as Starbucks and McDonald’s are still taking the lead in eventually banning single-use plastic, such as straws.

“These groups are responding to the public outcry demanding action against a product that, on one hand, seems very simple—but which is harming the world’s oceans, experts warn,” said the National Geographic.

Even the World Economic Forum has said that there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050, according to a report.

Environmentalists are also seeking to add another R to the famous slogan – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s Refuse.

The report said, “they want people to refuse plastics.”


Researches Achieve Unprecedented Control of Polymer Grids

Synthetic polymers are found everywhere: nylon, polyester, Teflon, epoxy, and many others. They are composed of long and linear structures that easily tangle. Chemical engineers have for a long time been struggling to create a two-dimensional grid-like form of polymers but they have failed most of the times.

A trial of making such polymers came in the last decade in the name of covalent organic frameworks but the product was poor and the manufacturing process was hectic. A Northwestern University College is on the course of filling a century-long mystery by building the first successful COF has and control their development.

The researchers have a two-step development course that will lead to the production of natural polymers using crystalline, two-dimensional constructions. This will, in turn, allow chemical engineers to create new products that have amazing properties.

Low-quality COF’s have allowed for the enhanced use of polymers such as water purification, storing electrical energy and physique armor. Imagine what improved design polymers will be able to contribute to the world of synthetic polymers.

William Dichtel who is a professor of chemistry at North western’s Weinberg Faculty of Arts and Sciences has led the research.

The 2D COFs have long-lasting pores and excessive floors space as compared to the contemporary synthetic fibers. For the first time ever chemists have managed to design ordered 2D polymers that are arranged in repeating hexagonal shapes providing them utmost control over its properties.

With further research on the area still being done, scientists hope to create more structurally precise, layered macromolecular sheets that exhibit desirable mechanical, optoelectronic and molecular transport properties.

This unprecedented control of polymer grids is going to be crucial in developing more lasting and useful polymers that will go a long way in improving the way human beings use polymers.


Enzyme’s Accidental Research on Plastic Eating by Scientists

Scientists accidentally develop plastic-eating enzyme. The world of science is a surprise. Scientists are looking for something. Accidentally caught up. That is accidentally found, researched and useful for anything else. That is why we use many tools as a by-product (sub-product) of the research of scientists.
A similar development has now taken place at the University of Portsmouth, Britain, where scientists have accidentally developed a plastic-eating (enzyme) enzyme.
He studied the structure of natural enzymes discovered at the University of Portsmouth, Britain and the National Laboratory Waste Recycling Center for Renewable Energy. Scientists studying this have accidentally developed the enzyme eating plastic.
NREL’s chief researcher Greg Beckham has said that we have studied the structure of natural enzymes detected in the waste recycling center, but eventually discovered plastic eating enzymes in order to help in protein engineering.
The research will be helpful in the recycling of plastic bottles built by the pet, Portsmouth University of Britain said. The University of Portsmouth has stated that newly researched enzymes are the most helpful to dissolve polyethylene furandicarboxylate, or PEF.