I commented yesterday on the ridiculous study commissioned by the American Christmas Tree Association that claims PVC Christmas trees are better for the environment than natural trees. A study earlier this year by a consulting firm in Canada makes the opposite conclusion. ”The results for this impact category are clear: the natural tree is better than the artificial tree considering an average life span of six years for the artificial tree. This conclusion holds true for resource depletion as well,” state researchers for Ellipsos of Montréal, Quebec. If someone kept an artificial tree for a very long time, “ideally over 20 years”, they could reduce the impacts of the artificial tree, says Ellipsos.
If you like to drive deep into the country to chop down your own tree, then you could be better off with a PVC tree, strictly from an environmental lifecycle analysis, says the study. I say, go into the country, have a great time with your kids, and chop down your own tree. Deposit the tree at a composting site when done. I didn’t do any research, but how is that worse than a PVC tree made in China?
Thanks to my colleague Don Loepp at Plastics News for citing my blog post, and pointing out the Ellipsos citation in one of the Plastics News comments.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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