Friday, 16 September 2022 06:09

This Week in Tech with Jeanne Destro-9-16-22: Better, Safer, Greener Plastic

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Even if you’re deep inside a forest, high atop a mountain, or walking on the moon; there is always some form of plastic nearby.

From the buttons on your shirt, to the laces on your shoes; you are literally wearing it wherever you go. You talk into it through your phone, see through it with your glasses, breathe microscopic bits of it from the air into your lungs, and consume particles of it when you drink from some types of plastic bottles.

And of course ; you can’t get rid of it. Throw it in and landfill, and it will remain there, virtually unchanged, for thousands of years. Throw it in the ocean; and it will kill marine life and birds.

On the plus side, there are scientists right here in Akron who are working now, with the aid of a $525 thousand dollar federal grant, to create a new kind of plastic; one that is degradable, more easily recyclable, and made from renewable materials, instead of petrochemicals.

I talked to one of them this week, at the University of Akron. Dr. James Egan is an Assistant Professor in their School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, and I started our conversation with one of my pet peeves about plastic: You need to put your garbage into it or it will leak all over the place, but you hate to throw it out because you know it will just sit in a landfill forever.

But maybe there’s a better way…not just for your trash, but for all things made of, coated in, and suffused with plastic.

Listen now.


 

DR. JAMES EGAN U A POLYMER

Dr. James Egan, University of Akron

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