The Chemical Story Behind Non-Petroleum-Based Plastics

Every year, millions of tons of plastic are discarded into landfills, where they will take hundreds of years to break down.  New biodegradable plastics offer a potential solution to this problem. Let’s back up and talk about “traditional” plastics first. In addition to being landfilled, some plastic is disposed of improperly, leading to plastic pollution …

Dumping Nanoparticles into a Fjord: How to Think About the Potential Environmental Impacts

Nanoparticles and the Environment Series, Part II  (click here for Part I) Let’s dive in to a real-world nanotechnology problem raised by one of our readers: should waste composed of nanoparticles, let’s call it “nanowaste”, be disposed of differently than regular waste? There are many types of nanowaste that we could discuss, but today we’ll …

Nanoparticles With Your Coffee? A Java-Infused Science Experiment!

Many of us couldn’t make it through a day without a cup or two of our favorite caffeinated beverage. I usually start my day with a warm cup of coffee or tea. In fact, more than 50% of adults in America drink coffee on a daily basis, averaging about 3 cups a day. In the US, …

Nanoparticles Are All Around Us

You’re looking at an electron micrograph of gold nanoparticles; a snap shot of tiny gold crystals that are 1/10,000th the diameter of a human hair. Nanoparticles just these like may soon transform every aspect of our day to day lives, from the size of our personal electronic devices to the way diagnose and treat cancer; …