Ep 10. Why Were Plastic Mirobeads Banned? Marine Debris and Sustainable Plastics

Sustainable Nano Podcast cover image

Plastic debris in our water is a huge pollution problem, and just one source of that pollution is the tiny microbeads that have been widely used in personal care products. In this episode of the podcast, we interview Dr. Richard Thompson, a Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University and an expert on the effects of plastic debris in the marine environment. We discuss the recent federal ban on microbeads and what consumers can do to be more sustainable in our day-to-day use of plastics.

Keeping Our Food Safe – Nanomaterial Style

From reading this blog, you may know that nanomaterials are becoming more and more prevalent in the products that we use on a regular basis. What you may not realize is that nanomaterials are also becoming a growing part of our food packaging.  In this post, I'm going to explore a few ways in which nanomaterials …

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 …

Turning Plastic Bags into Carbon Nanotubes

I was surprised to learn recently that plastic bags can be turned into a new material called carbon nanotubes. Prior to this, all I had heard about plastic bags was about the environmental threat that they potentially pose, either by accumulating in wildlife or clogging landfills with slow-to-break-down waste. Many recycling techniques have been developed …

Paper or Plastic? Sustainability is a Multi-Dimensional Problem

Part 1 in the "How is That Sustainable?" Series “Paper or plastic?” This was the question you always used to get once you’d made it through the checkout line to the grocery store register (at least when I was growing up). Ever since about 2005, however, it seemed like it was becoming increasingly rare to …