Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Ethernos 1997, Nov 22, 2019.
Is there a better way to decompose plastic material on a global scale?
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Better than what?
The new bacteria used to decompose plastic.
If science were advance enough. I was thinking of turning them into water.is it possible?
Here's the challenge:
There are many types of plastic, but plastic is an organic molecule. That means it's almost entirely made of oxygens, hydrogens and carbons.
Whatever means you use to make water out of it, it will use up some of the oxygen and all the hydrogen (since that's what water is made of).
What that leaves behind is some oxygen and all the carbon.
Most processes for chemical alteration involve heating them. That's how you get chemicals to change form.
What happens when you heat oxygen and carbon together?
You get carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide - both strong greenhouse gases. Very bad. Worse, in fact, than what you started with.
So the challenge is to break down the plastic without creating even more harmful byproducts in the process.
And if you solve that - cheaply - you will get a Nobel prize.
Can we freeze it and vibrate?
Why not turn used plastic into . . . new plastic? Seems much, much easier.
Well, there's another challenge.
If we have it all in a bucket in our facilities, half the battle is over - we can do whatever we want to it in a controlled environment.
But it's distributed all over the world, land and sea. Collecting it would cost more than processing it.
So. if you're going to deal with existing plastic pollution (as opposed to future changes to the industry) you need a solution that can be implemented "in the wild".
But the process takes still generates micro plastic which over time will have bad affects on our body.
The micro plastic is a consequence of degradation, usually due to exposure to sun/weather. By re-processing it, we stop that process. New products from recycled plastic are much less prone to degradation.
Until we find a replacement for plastics (such as bamboo), plastics will always be needed and be around.
Any plastic that's recycled is plastic that is not going into to the land or the seas or our bodies.
sry for the silly reply.
What if we disintegrate plastic in a closed chamber?then separate the particle using electromagnetic fields.
1] That requires collection (dollars).
2] That requires energy (dollars) (which means pollution by your electricity production).
3] That (may) create combustion byproducts.
4] You're still left with the end product: C, O, and H. If you don't do anything, they will recombine back into organic products, such as CO2 and CO and sludge.
Money is not a problem once the technology develops it will become cheaper. We can use renewable sources of energy.by electrolysis we can separate hydrogen and oxygen in a different chamber and create water. Carbon can b use for graphene.
That doesn't happen by magic.
It happens because we find ways of processing distributed pollution without the zillions of hours of manual labour collecting it, hauling it to facilities, and processing it one trainload at a time.
For example, the reason engineered bacteria is an interesting option is that (in theory) we can simply release it into the environment - or at least open-but-controlled areas - and let it do its own job of finding the plastic, reproducing itself and breaking it down. It uses sunlight and available materials so that we don't have to babysit every tonne of plastic that needs processing.
Yes, turning it into graphene is a form of recycling. And it might work if you can make it profitable. But graphene production a very expensive process and doesn't scale well (right now, they're doing it on the micro-gram scale). You'll have to create a whole industry from scratch of graphene products - which will incidentally take R&D resources away from your primary task of collecting plastic pollution.
I believe that the logistics of a solution - the human-power cost, energy cost, delivery cost, profit/loss etc. are as big a part - if not bigger - than the simple technology solution.
Technology helps solve the logistics problems - it is not the solution itself.
But don't let me discourage you. You're thinking creatively, and it is your generation that will solve this problem. My generation is too old to do much more than help by financing your generation.
Here is a picture of plastic pollution on the rio negro in brazil.
Perhaps, such places would be good gathering points for recycling?
Pree Columbus, and pree climate shift of 1150-1300---(which degraded civilizations of north, central, and south america)
This river was home to a thriving community which may have had a population density of up to 10 times that of today. There were many large villages connected by wide raised farmlands (or boulevards) whose soil had been bolstered by adding biochar and broken pottery---this construction stopped around 1300, but the soil(called terra negra) that they created and left behind is still very fertile 700 years later. WOW Great work guys whoever you were-----we could use more like you today!
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