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IBM Creates Plant-Based, Highly Recyclable Plastics

Posted By Brit Liggett On March 10, 2010 @ 9:05 am In Recycled Materials,Recycling initiatives | No Comments

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IBM researchers announced yesterday that they discovered a method of creating highly recyclable plastics from one of the most eco-friendly materials around – plants. [1] Not only are the material’s components greener than traditional petroleum-based products [2], the production process uses significantly less energy.

green plastic, new plastic, organic polymer, organocatalyst, metal catalyst, stanford university, IBM, recycleable plastic, PET [3]

IBM scientists used organic catalysts Рcatalysts made from organic compounds instead of metals to create plastic polymers [4] that are functional through many rounds of recycling [5]. Traditional plastics can generally be recycled once before the metal in the polymer starts to degrade and it must be sent to the landfill [6]. The new compounds can be up-cycled [7] and down-cycled into many different types of plastics. A plastic bottle can have a new life as a car bumper [8]. Previously it was difficult to remake polymer compounds that retain the strength of the original materials.

The scientists also have high hopes for the use of the new eco-plastics in medicinal applications [9]. Many encapsulated drugs are currently highly toxic because of the metal in the plastics involved. The new organocatalysts plastics could be used to deliver directed cancer [10] therapy drugs safely because the polymers will safely degrade and deliver medicine on site in the body. In addition to all of this great news, researchers said that the new catalysts are, “dirt cheap.”

+ Macromolecules Article [11] (subscription required)

Via Green Inc. [12]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/ibm-creates-plant-based-energy-saving-plastics/

URLs in this post:

[1] highly recyclable plastics from one of the most eco-friendly materials around – plants.: http://www.biofueldaily.com/reports/IBM_makes_Earth-friendly_plastic_from_plants_999.html

[2] traditional petroleum-based products: http://www.sustainablebiomaterials.org/index.php?q=node/90

[3] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/10/ibm-creates-plant-based-energy-saving-plastics/green-plastic-medicine/

[4] plastic polymers: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/01/plastiki-plastic-bottle-boat-unveiled-in-san-francisco/

[5] recycling: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/09/creative-and-greener-ways-to-get-rid-of-old-electronics/

[6] sent to the landfill: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/01/29/rapid-refuse-new-york-city-rebuilt-from-its-own-trash/

[7] up-cycled: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/08/recycling-zychal-hoods-and-doggie-coats-made-from-broken-umbrellas/

[8] a car bumper: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/04/all-electric-tata-nano-revealed-in-geneva/

[9] in medicinal applications: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/02/04/giant-traveling-herb-garden-teaches-about-herbal-medicine/

[10] cancer: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/02/26/researchers-discover-way-to-make-french-fries-without-cance-causing-chemical/

[11] + Macromolecules Article: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ma9025948

[12] Green Inc.: http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/scientists-develop-highly-recyclable-plastic/

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