Innovative Solution To The Plastic Problem?

Everyone knows by now: plastic is badly broken down and it pollutes our nature in a dramatic way. Researchers from England, Canada, China and Saudi Arabia claim to be able to solve the plastic problem by turning plastic into hydrogen, they say in the magazine Nature Catalysis.
In their solution, the plastic is pulverized and mixed with two catalysts: aluminum oxide and iron oxide. The plastic mix is ​​then exposed to microwaves, heating only the catalysts and not the plastic. At that moment hydrogen is released from the plastic and carbon remains behind. Carbon nanotubes can then be made from that carbon.

According to the researchers, 97 percent of the hydrogen is recovered from plastic. 55.6 millimoles of hydrogen can be extracted per gram of plastic. That’s not much, but with thousands of tons of plastic waste it still produces a lot of hydrogen. Carbon nanotubes are normally used as a computer component or to make lithium batteries more stable. The tubes that the researchers made from the waste plastic were good enough to be reused in various applications. Although the approach has not yet been tested on a larger scale, the researchers indicate that this development offers good opportunities if the plastic problem is not solved in the coming years.


Update on plastic waste reduction Unilever – well on its way to halving by 2025!
Unilever recently presented the progress it is making to reduce plastic use. The multinational announced last year that it would reduce plastic use by 100,000 tons annually for five years. Since then, the company has launched several initiatives to achieve this goal.

For example, new packaging material that can be more easily recycled was introduced and plastic films were partially removed from the product line. In addition, the company invested in research into new sustainable business models that make more use of reusable and refillable packaging. In addition, at the beginning of September, 1 billion euros was used for research into fossil-free cleaning products.

In the plastic waste update, the company announced that about 10 percent of plastic packaging – approximately 75,000 tons – consists of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic. PCR plastic is plastic that is made from waste that is created by consumers, such as green, paper and packaging waste. This is the largest waste flow worldwide. The company wants to use at least 25 percent PCR plastic by 2025. CEO Alan Jope: “The disposable culture and the disposable business model continue to damage our planet. Despite all the challenges, we should not turn our back on this problem. It is crucial that we – and the rest of the industry – continue to take steps to reduce plastic use, so that we move to a circular economy. ”