Amid the blast of news about soaring gas prices, came this whiff of good news on New England Cable News: A group in Maine hopes to make plastic from potatoes. Wow, we can get away from high oil prices and at the same time packaging made from potatoes would be biodegradable, right? That was the tone of the gee-whizz newscast. It sure would be nice to get a little context in these news reports. As reported here recently, the economics of using crops as a feedstock are way out of whack, even with high-priced oil. And also as reported here, there is no composting infrastructure in place to handle biodegradable packaging. I like Mane potatoes. Let’s just eat them.
Dow Chemical and several other companies have launched a program in Omaha, Neb. to divert about 36 tons of plastics from landfills in its first phase, and convert it into energy used for cement production.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
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