Category Archives: Recylcing

Plastics Recycling Industry ‘Starving For Materials’


Science Daily Consumers have unknowingly put the plastics recycling industry in the United States on a starvation diet by failing to recycle sufficient quantities of soft drink bottles and other waste. That’s the conclusion of a story in the  Oct. 15 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

In the article, C&EN senior editor Alexander H. Tullo explores the critical role of consumers in efforts to save energy and raw materials by transforming plastic wastes into new products. Tullo notes that barely 25 percent of the billions of pounds of plastic bottles and containers manufactured annually in the United States enter the recycling stream.

While major cities like New York and San Francisco have shown that plastics recycling can be done successfully on a large scale, fueled by recycling educational programs and environmental pride, many municipalities are still falling far short of their desired recycling goals.

Financial concerns, technological difficulties, and stiff competition for raw materials by recyclers at home and abroad are among the combined challenges facing the plastics recycling industry, Tullo notes.

But the fate of the plastics recycling industry may ultimately rest in the hands of consumers, he writes. Tullo’s bottom line is a quote from one recycling expert: “There is not enough scrap material being collected.”

Article: “From Refuse to Reuse”

Note: This story has been adapted from material provided by American Chemical Society.

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Posted by on October 16, 2007 in Recylcing


DuPont Partners In BIO Plastic Sheets


DuPont and Plantic Technologies Announce Starch-Based Bio Materials Collaboration

PR Newswire

Partnership to Focus on Materials for Food and Other Packaging Uses

MELBOURNE, Australia, and WILMINGTON, Del., Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ — DuPont and Plantic Technologies Limited, an Australian company specializing in starch-based biopolymers, today announced plans to collaborate in the development and sale of renewably sourced polymers made from Plantic(R) technology.

Plans include the collaborative development of new, renewably sourced resins and sheet materials based on high-amylose corn starch as the renewable feedstock for applications including cosmetics, personal care and food packaging trays, caps and containers. In addition to co-developing these new materials, DuPont will market and distribute Plantic’s starch-based resins and sheet products under the DuPont(TM) Biomax(R) family of products.

“Putting DuPont’s polymer science and biotechnology together with Plantic’s leading-edge starch-based technology helps both companies broaden the performance of this class of polymers, while accelerating the availability of more options to replace the use of nonrenewable feedstocks,” Shanna Moore, DuPont global business director for sustainable packaging materials, said. “This is part of the company’s overall strategy to nearly double revenues from non-depletable resources to $8 billion by 2015 through a combination of DuPont R&D and targeted strategic partnerships.”

Under the agreement, DuPont will market Plantic’s starch-based sheet materials for trays and rigid packaging applications in North America, extending Plantic’s existing markets for these materials, which previously had been limited to Europe and Australia. DuPont also will brand and sell starch- based injection molding resins made with Plantic technology in all markets except Australia and New Zealand, using the DuPont(TM) Biomax(R) brand.

“This agreement with DuPont helps Plantic expand the reach of its renewably sourced polymer technology around the world, and significantly enhances the opportunities for product development for this technology by tapping into one of the world’s leading science companies,” Plantic CEO Grant Dow said.

DuPont’s unique breadth of biology, chemistry and materials science, ranging from better seeds to value-added end-use products, has enabled the creation of DuPont(TM) Renewably Sourced Materials, where each product contains a minimum of 20 percent renewable content by weight. These high- performance products are sourced to a significant extent from renewable, sustainable agricultural feedstocks, rather than petroleum. Renewably Sourced Materials from DuPont help reduce the environmental footprint, promote rural development and larger markets for farmers around the world, and help reduce dependence on petrochemicals for everyday products. Plantic-based products will be part of a growing suite of products being marketed under the DuPont(TM) Renewably Sourced Materials initiative (

Plantic’s novel polymer manufacturing technology is based on the use of high-amylose corn starch, a material derived from annual harvesting of specialized (hybrid) corn. The unique chemical and film-forming properties of this type of corn starch allow for development of a range of applications across conventional plastics markets. In addition to being renewably sourced, users can take advantage of excellent end-of-life properties such as biodegradability and compostability.

Plantic Technologies Limited has emerged as a world leading bioplastics innovator. The Australia-based company has won numerous international awards for achievement in science and has built an international network of major corporate customers, distributors and research and development partners.

DuPont — one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 18 years ago — has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products, such as sustainable packaging materials, for key global markets.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont(TM) and Biomax(R) are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

Plantic(R) technology is a registered trademark of Plantic Technologies Limited.

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Posted by on September 26, 2007 in R&D, Recylcing


Recycle Plastic To Make Own Custom Guitar Picks


How to Make Plastic Guitar Picks

If you play the guitar, now you’ve got a nifty way to recycle all of those old ID cards and fake credit cards you get in the mail.

[edit] Steps

  1. Find a source of plastic that you desire to recycle into a useful object.
  2. Using a permanent marker, trace the outline of an existing guitar pick onto the plastic.
  3. Using quality scissors or a sharp craft knife. Cut out the shape of the guitar pick.
  4. Using an emery board or a small scrap of fine sandpaper, smooth the edges of the pick.

[edit] Tips

  • Some good sources of plastic:
    • Old membership card
    • Old discount card
    • Used gift card
    • “Fake” credit card from junk mail
  • Guitar Picks come in so many shapes, sizes, materials, and thickness (gauge) that sometimes it’s difficult to know which ones to choose. There are four main attributes of a guitar pick.
    • The shape of the tip
    • The thickness
    • The overall size
    • The material
  • In general, rounded tips are best suited for strumming chords and playing rhythm guitar.
  • Sharp picks are better for playing lead guitar. Lead guitar is primarily focused on playing one note at a time, as opposed to rhythm guitar which primarily plays more than one note at a time.
  • The thickness of picks is generally measured in millimeters (mm) and normally ranges from 0.38mm (thin) to 1.5mm (thick). However, guitar picks can range up to 3.0mm thick. In general, thin picks are good for rhythm guitar but not great for lead guitar.
  • Thick picks are good for some rhythm guitar and great for lead guitar. Thick picks give a guitar player more control of volume and attack on the strings. There is not much give, so thick picks don’t bend very easily.
  • Thin picks allow a guitar player to firmly strike the strings without much chance of breaking them or playing too loud. Thin picks bend easily and are designed to make strummed chords sound smooth.
  • If you cut the pick out so that you can have some of the embossed printing of your name or account number near the top, the pick will be easier to grip when playing.

[edit] Things You’ll Need

  • Guitar pick, to trace pattern.
  • Permanent Marker
  • Scissors or knife
  • An emery board (or) a small scrap of fine sandpaper
  • Source of plastic: discarded discount card


Posted by on September 14, 2007 in DIY, Recreation, Recylcing


Recycled Plastic Mix Turned Into Backyard Fencing


Garbage turned into backyard fencing by FiberTech

DAVIS, Calif.–It’s like the Sanford and Son of green tech companies.

(article not part of original article, but taken from FiberTech’s website)

FiberTech Polymers takes old corrugated cardboard, plastic and other materials that don’t make it to the recycler and turns it all into outdoor fencing, CEO Steven Mortensen told the audience at the GoingGreen conference taking place here this week. You can make other stuff out of it, too.

“We take this rejected material and turn it into a product,” he said. “Our products will not rot, splinter or fade to gray…That’s why you don’t want it in landfills.”

The company is actually a net consumer of waste, he added: it takes in more waste than it generates. Getting materials is not a problem–only 32 percent of waste is actually recycled, he said. It calls the process ThreeCycling. There are other garbage-to-plastic companies out there, as well as garbage-to-cement companies. Others are making plastic out of cornstarch rather than oil.

$73 billion fencing gets sold on the wholesale level a year, he added.

I’m coming to join you, Elizabeth.


Soon: Biodegradable Foamed Styrene


Boffins develop novel approach to make polystyrene biodegradable

From our ANI Correspondent

London, Sept 5: Chinese scientists have developed a novel approach to make foam polystyrene biodegradable. Foam polystyrene is used as a protective packaging for all sorts of products, but it is not biodegradable.

Previously manufacturers have tried making it more environmentally friendly by incorporating cellulose and starch, which microbes can break down, or by adding light-sensitive polymers that degrade in sunlight.

However, as, Shanpu Ya and colleagues at the Polymer Science and Engineering College of Quingdao University of Science and Technology in China found, all these methods have serious disadvantages.

In particular, it took too long time for polymers to break down in these ways, they said.

The team has now developed a new approach that involves embedding water-absorbing resin particles about five micromeres in diameter throughout a chemical like styrene before it is polymerised to form a polystyrene-like material.

When the resulting solid comes into contact with water, the resin particles expand, reducing the polymer structure to a powder that should then biodegrade.

The team says that by altering the ratio of ingredients, it is also possible to control the rate of disintegration.

A crucial factor, the scientists say, is that the resulting foamed polystyrene is cheaper than conventional materials and should therefore be readily adopted by cost-conscious companies that also want to be environmentally responsible.

The team has applied for a patent for their water disintegrable polystyrene foam, reports New Scientist.


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Posted by on September 5, 2007 in R&D, Recylcing, Signs


Scratch Built Millenium Falcon Using Styrene


Exerpt (Click On Image For Full Article)

I started by cutting the basic shape of the Millennium Falcon out of two pieces of sheet styrene. They basically looked like a disk with the shapes of the two front mandibles sticking out of it and two little wedges missing on each side (for the “escape pods”). Each half also had a hole in the center where the gun turrets would go later. I was not planning on putting an interior into the ship, but these holes were supposed to enable me access to the wiring of the cooling fans and lights in the ship.Next, I cut small pieces out of the back of the two halves to make room for the 6 cooling fans (small CPU fans, about 1.25 inches in diameter). At that time I was planning to light the ship’s engine with a custom-made neon tube.

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Posted by on August 30, 2007 in DIY, Fabrication, Recylcing


Natural Fibres & Plastics Spawn New Consumer Designs


EUREKA project develops eco-plastics

[Date: 2007-08-27]

A range of new materials which combine natural fibres and plastics has been developed by the EUREKA project FACTORY ECOPLAST. The materials, which are also recyclable, could be used in a range of consumer goods, including audio components such as loudspeakers.

With high oil prices pushing up the costs of petroleum derivatives such as plastics, there is an urgent need for new materials to meet the growing demand for consumer items.

‘We need to develop new materials that are cheaper and better,’ said FACTORY ECOPLAST coordinator Uros Znidaric, of Slovenian company ISOKON. ‘Ideally such materials should also be recyclable more easily, reducing environmental impact.’

Composite materials are nothing new; 3,000 years ago the ancient Egyptians were reinforcing clay walls with straw. Nowadays glass fibres are often used to reinforce plastics, but recent research findings indicate that natural fibres such as flax, hemp and jute could be an excellent substitute for glass. These fibres have good mechanical properties, are low density and crucially, are cheaper than glass.

The FACTORY ECOPLAST partners, who come from Croatia, Hungary, Portugal and Slovenia, studied how the type and level of filling in reinforced plastics affects the properties of the final material. Among other things, they looked at the rigidity, weight and price of the material, as well as the ability to saw and drill the material and its resistance to wear and tear.

‘Once we had enough information about different compound properties, we then focused on product selection,’ explained Mr Znidaric. ‘The new materials are suitable for use in the manufacture of a wide variety of products, including vacuum cleaner and lawn mower parts, storage boxes and even golf tees.’

Of particular interest to the project partners was the use of wood-based composites in acoustic devices. ‘Although wood is known for its good acoustics and is often used in musical instruments, today a lot of speaker boxes are made of injection-moulded polymers,’ said Mr Znidaric. ‘We wanted to see if our new composite, which contains wood, might display better acoustic properties.’

Tests revealed that FACTORY ECOPLAST’s wood-filled composites are well suited to use in loudspeaker boxes, and show similar levels of acoustic performance to models currently on the market. According to the project partners, this means the potential for commercialisation in this area is particularly high.

In addition to the strong performance of the new materials in a range of products, Mr Znidaric believes the natural composites will also benefit from an increased interest in environmentally friendly materials.

‘This is just one more reason why we see a high probability of broad commercial success for our products,’ he commented.

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Posted by on August 27, 2007 in R&D, Recylcing