Chemists develop fast-degrading plastic for cleaner oceans

The researchers hope to develop a no-trace plastic to curtail marine pollution and ghost fishing.

(Photo: NOAA)
  • Cornell University chemists have developed a polymer with the strength of industrial-grade plastics but degrades quickly in sunlight.
  • They hope the plastic will one day be used to make fishing nets that leave no environmental trace.
  • Their research joins other programs and initiatives aimed at restoring our oceans.
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Get your coffee fix while helping the environment

These compostable espresso pods are the eco-friendly way to get your caffeine fix.

  • The coffee pod revolution saved us time and effort but has been horrible for the environment.
  • The single-use plastics used in most pods sit in landfills for years.
  • Fortunately, a new wave of eco-friendly compostable pods is coming to the market.
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1,000 years from now, lego bricks could be found in the ocean

A new study says that it could be centuries before millions of the classic toys submerged in the Earth's seas disintegrate.

Photo by Rick Mason on Unsplash
  • A new study by researchers from the University of Plymouth estimates that it could be up to 1,300 years before LEGO pieces lost to the sea disintegrate.
  • Researchers collected fifty LEGO pieces washed up on beaches in southwest England and compared them to archived blocks in their original condition.
  • The classic children's toy is made of an incredibly durable material called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a rock-solid polymer.
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Graphene typically costs $200,000 per ton. Now, scientists can make it from trash.

Graphene is insanely useful, but very difficult to produce — until now.

Jeff Fitlow
  • Graphene is a lattice of carbon atoms arranged in a chicken-wire formation, a structure that makes it very useful for a wide range of applications.
  • However, it's been very difficult and expensive to make.
  • This new technique cuts down on the cost and difficulty by flash heating any carbon-based material, such as used coffee grounds or plastic waste.
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Humans are exposed to 44 times as much BPA as previously assumed

A new method of measuring human exposure to the potentially toxic chemical calls into question regulatory policy.

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  • Bisphenol A, or BPA, is produced at a massive scale in order to manufacture plastics.
  • It's been linked to a wide variety of negative health effects, but regulatory agencies have mainly left the chemical alone due to its usefulness and the low exposure levels found in humans.
  • However, a new study found that the method that most researchers have used to measure BPA exposure in humans drastically underestimates the actual exposure.
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