#PLASTIC

Focus-Science and Technology - - DISCOVERIES TRENDING -

CRABS TO THE RES­CUE

A team of re­searchers at the Ge­or­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy have cre­ated a biodegrad­able plastic sub­sti­tute us­ing crab shells and tree fi­bres. The ma­te­rial was made by spray­ing al­ter­nate layers of chitin – a sub­stance found in the ex­oskele­tons of arthro­pods such as crabs and lob­sters – and cel­lu­lose from tree fi­bres onto a sur­face. The sub­stance re­sem­bles the plastic film that is of­ten used to keep food fresh.

PLAS­TICS RE­LEASE GREEN­HOUSE GASES

Many com­mon plas­tics re­lease the pow­er­ful green­house gases meth­ane and eth­yl­ene when ex­posed to sun­light, re­searchers at the Uni­ver­sity of Hawaii have found. They tested poly­car­bon­ate, acrylic, polypropy­lene, poly­styrene and poly­eth­yl­ene – all ma­te­ri­als used to make food wrap­pings, tex­tiles and var­i­ous plastic goods. Poly­eth­yl­ene, the plastic used in shop­ping bags, was found to be the big­gest emit­ter of both gases.

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