Can New Technology Make Plastics Better for our Environment?

Can New Technology Make Plastics Better for our Environment?

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Our environment is currently facing a growing problem with plastic waste and pollution entering our food chain and water supplies. Plastic polymers can take decades to centuries to fully decompose to their initial states, which makes our pollution problem harder to solve. We cannot simply bury our plastic waste in hopes that in a few years decomposition take care of the problem. Plus, we cannot ban the use of plastic products as the serve many basic purposes in our daily lives. These are some of the reasons why scientists have been working hard to create solutions for our plastic waste. As our technology advances we are finding more efficient ways of fabricating and manufacturing products. Some of this new technology might also provide solutions for our amounting plastic waste.

Plastic products are not necessarily harmful to our environment. Plastic products become harmful when they are not recycled or disposed of properly. We are constantly finding plastic waste entering our oceans and natural wildlife reserves. This a direct cause of improper disposal of plastic waste. However, in theory, there should not be any plastic waste in the first place. Plastic polymers have amazing properties that allow them to be reused many times. When plastic products are recycled, we are giving a new life to the plastic product as a new product. There are many companies that specialize in using recycled plastics to fabricate plastic products. Plus, there are many different types of plastic molding that companies utilize in order to create their finished product. Many times these techniques leave little to no waste during the fabrication process. This is a great example of how advancement of our technology has enabled companies to produce less waste and become more efficient. This is both advantageous to the company producing plastic products and our environment.

In recent years, scientists have also been investigating different ways of eliminating our plastic waste. Decomposition alone will take too long to solve our growing plastic waste problem, so scientists have found ways of accelerating the process. One new and exciting discovery is through a specific worm that eats and dissolves plastic polymers. This can be a great solution by adding biological workers to our landfills in order to reduce the plastic waste in the landfills. These worms can go through pounds and pounds of plastic in a single colony of worms.

Other researchers have found ways of converting our plastic waste into energy. There is nothing new about plastic products having petroleum, but what is new is the process of extracting the petroleum for fuel. In the past, this process was considered wasteful and inefficient, as more energy was required than gathered from the process itself. Researchers have found new ways of breaking down the plastic polymers before extracting the raw materials used to make the plastic product. This process is reclaiming the fossil fuels used to create the plastic product giving us another chance to harness that energy again.

Mankind has constantly sought to improve the quality of life, and through this quest we have inadvertently created materials and products that are harmful to our environment. To better our own lives we must also maintain our environments.

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