Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

June 9, 2017 by  
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Microbeads ‘ detriment to the environment is well-documented , yet many companies continue to put the tiny plastic spheres in their products. Scientists at the University of Bath came up with a solution. They created microbeads from cellulose instead, and their alternative is both biodegradable and renewable. One shower can pollute the ocean with 100,000 plastic particles, according to an estimate cited by the University of Bath. These plastic microbeads less than five millimeters in size are way too small to be filtered out by sewage filtration systems, and from sunscreens, toothpastes, or cosmetics end up in the ocean. Fish, birds, and other marine creatures then consume them. Researchers think from there, the microbeads may be entering our food supply . Related: Greenpeace identifies brands that are still polluting oceans with microbeads So a research team at the university developed a way to continuously make biodegradable microbeads. They dissolve cellulose and reform it into beads, by making droplets that are set. They say their process is scalable, and they can draw cellulose from waste products such as those from the paper-making industry. These waste products offer a renewable source of cellulose. Their biodegradable microbeads will stay stable in a body wash, but at sewage treatment facilities can be broken down by organisms. Or the beads will break down in a short period of time if they do make it into the wider environment. Scientist Janet Scott said they’ll biodegrade into harmless sugars. She said in a statement, “Microbeads used in the cosmetics industry are often made of polyethylene or polypropylene, which are cheap and easy to make. However these polymers are derived from oil and they take hundreds of years to break down in the environment…We hope in the future these [microbeads] could be used as a direct replacement for plastic microbeads.” The journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering published a study on the research online the end of May. A team led by Scott just received more than £1 million, around $1.2 million, in funding to develop porous beads, microsponges, and capsules from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council . Via the University of Bath Images via University of Bath

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Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic

March 3, 2017 by  
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Plastic is a plague on this planet, but it doesn’t have to be. A group of Egyptian researchers is developing a kind of plastic won’t languish in landfills for hundreds of years – made with dried shrimp shells. Just six months into a two-year project, the team is already seeing some success. Scientists at Nile University clean and chemically treat shrimp shells, then ground them up and dissolve them in a solution that dries to form plastic. The researchers have utilized chitosan , a polymer made from the compound chitin commonly found in crustacean shells, to make their clear, thin plastic prototype. They’re able to obtain the shells inexpensively, sourcing them from local supermarkets, restaurants, and fishermen at low prices. Project researcher Hani Chbib told Reuters Egypt imports some 3,500 metric tons of shrimp, and is left with 1,000 metric tons of shrimp shell waste. So the project could help alleviate waste and reduce plastic pollution . Related: Harvard Scientists Create Super Strong Degradable Bioplastic from Shrimp Shells The Egyptian researchers are collaborating with a team from Britain’s University of Nottingham , where the professor overseeing the project, Irene Samy, conducted post-doctoral research and began exploring the idea of converting shells into plastic. Samy told Reuters, “If commercialized, this could really help us decrease our waste…and it could help us improve our food exports because the plastic has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.” The team envisions the biodegradable plastic might be used for packaging and plastic bags . They said their technique could potentially work for large-scale industrial production, and while so far they’ve only made small samples, are working to enhance properties like durability and thermal stability so the product could be widely used. The United Kingdom side of the team plans to approach packaging manufacturers in their country. Via Reuters Images via screenshot

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DoD wants to axe pollution with biodegradable seed-planting bullets

January 9, 2017 by  
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President-elect Donald Trump seems determined to fill his cabinet with climate change skeptics and deniers. But there’s one department Trump probably won’t attempt to sabotage: the Department of Defense (DoD). Now it appears that department’s fighting against the environmental wasteland Trump’s laboring to leave in his wake, with a call for scientists to develop biodegradable , seed-planting bullets. The DoD said the U.S. Army goes through hundreds of thousands of ammunition rounds at training ranges around the world. But bullet components don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years, and in the meantime can “corrode and pollute the soil and nearby water.” DoD also worries many civilians won’t be able to tell the training rounds apart from tactical rounds. So they came up with a vision for a rather peaceful solution: bullets that biodegrade and plant seeds as they go. Related: Climate change could cause “humanitarian crisis of epic proportions,” say military leaders The DoD is soliciting applications for contractors to develop “biodegradable training ammunition loaded with specialized seeds to grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants” under the Small Business Innovation Research program. According to Gizmodo, the Army found materials like bamboo fiber could be utilized in biodegradable bullets. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory has already developed bioengineered seeds that could be embedded into the biodegradable bullets. The seeds won’t germinate until many months after they’ve been in the ground. The defense department didn’t say what type of plants should be grown, but did say animals should be able to eat them without harm. They aim to eliminate environmental hazards with the biodegradable bullets, offering six references of different scientific articles that may help potential contractors in the development process. Those scientists interested in responding to DoD’s request have until February 8 to turn in applications. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Artist makes Dust Jewelry out of soil from abandoned Icelandic farms

June 28, 2016 by  
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Icelandic artist Ágústa Sveinsdóttir reminds us all of the transience of nature by crafting jewelry out of a simple material: dust. Collected from the soil of deserted farms in the Icelandic countryside, with time the Dust jewelry withers away, revealing a manmade structure — a sort of skeleton within — giving the bearer a chance to savour every moment of its life span. Using a biodegradable adhesive, dust is transformed into a jewel coating. It is a celebration of the fragile beauty that time and use impart to materials. + Dust Jewelry The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Award-winning biodegradable agar packaging could replace plastic

April 12, 2016 by  
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A group of designers from Japan have created a prototype design that could completely change the way we deal with product packaging. The design group, AMAM, calls their project Agar Plasticity, which explores the use of a seaweed -derived substance called agar as a biodegradable substitute for conventional plastic packaging. The group found that by boiling certain types of algae and dehydrating the resulting soup, it’s possible to create a variety of shapes and textures that could replace plastic film or foam packaging. For example, the frozen solution takes on a soft, cushioning structure, and when it’s compressed, it forms a plastic-like film. Read the rest of Award-winning biodegradable agar packaging could replace plastic

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Stunning wood sculpture is cast from a living 150-year-old giant hemlock tree

December 11, 2015 by  
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We may be able to throw our E-waste in the compost bin within 3 years

September 8, 2015 by  
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Can we win the war on E-waste? Mountains of electronic waste are dumped every year, leaching all kinds of toxins into the environment. And mining for the elements used in electronics manufacture causes huge swathes of land to be destroyed. Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology are hoping to combat this scourge with Biodegradable Electronic Components. And if they are successful, we may be tossing our future hard drives into the compost bin when we upgrade. Read the rest of We may be able to throw our E-waste in the compost bin within 3 years

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Biodegradable GOODFLOSS is perfect for on-the-go dental hygiene

April 29, 2015 by  
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Dental floss may be great for maintaining healthy teeth, but conventional plastic floss is bad for the environment. Goodwell solves that dilemma by swapping plastic for a biodegradable alternative in their recently launched GOODFLOSS , an eco-friendly floss-and-toothpick that makes for easy on-the-go oral hygiene. Sold in boxes of 40, each small biodegradable GOODFLOSS is a quarter of the size of a credit card and comes in a thin sanitary sleeve. + GOODFLOSS The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Biodegradable , biodegradable floss , environmentally friendly floss , GOODFLOSS , Goodwell , reader submitted content

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Biodegradable GOODFLOSS is perfect for on-the-go dental hygiene

Triangle Tree’s Edible Spoons Are a Tasty Alternative to Plastic Utensils

September 28, 2014 by  
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In an effort to create an alternative to disposable plastic silverware, Triangle Tree  has produced Edible Spoons, a spoon that you can eat after finishing your meal. Made of corn, the spoons are biodegradable and can either be composted or consumed. The Edible Spoon is also designed to break apart after use to make snacking easier. Created with all organic ingredients, the spoon comes in three flavors (plain, spicy, or sweet), and can act as a novel snack or an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum products. + Triangle Tree Via Geekologie Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Biodegradable , corn , edible spoon , food , Organic , petroleum , plastic , triangle tree

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Ultra-Grippy and 100% Biodegradable YOGO Mat Folds Down to the Size of a Newspaper

August 29, 2014 by  
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San Francisco-based startup YOGO just launched the YOGO Mat, a foldable eco-friendly yoga mat compact enough to fit into a purse or backpack. Made from 100% biodegradable natural tree rubber and recyclable straps, the ultra-grippy and machine-washable yoga mat folds and snaps into a small two-pound bundle perfect for eco-conscious, on-the-go yogis. YOGO is available for purchase on yogo.net , Amazon (Prime), in select stores, or as a reward in the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign RISE Yoga for Youth . + YOGO The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: biodegradable yoga mat , compact yoga mat , eco yoga mat , foldable yoga mat , Jessica Thompson , lightweight yoga mat , reader submitted content , Ryon Lane , yoga , yoga mat , YOGO , YOGO mat

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