Apparently, plastic rings got a bad rap in the animated film Happy Feet. Hi-Cone, a leading beverage packaging company, says “not fair” to the movie's presentation of wildlife endangerment from improperly discarded plastic rings from beverage carriers.
In the film, one of the animated penguin characters — voiced by Robin Williams — returns to his habitat with a ring carrier around his neck. “That's a misleading and irresponsible characterization,” says Steve Henn, vice president and general manager at Hi Cone. “It's a shame the producers of Happy Feet didn't do their homework on this subject.” Henn notes that plastic rings are designed to disintegrate almost completely from exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Henn says the packaging industry has worked for years to change misconceptions of the biodegradability of plastic rings. “Since the late 1980s, we've been trying to correct misrepresentations about ring carriers by working with scientific and environmental organizations to communicate how advances in plastics' technology have made them completely biodegradable,” says Henn. He explains that plastic rings exposed to the sun, wind and rain will break apart. “The risk for wildlife endangerment is almost nonexistent today because the photodegradable rings lose their strength and become brittle.”
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
ABI Research, a firm based in the UK that specializes in analyzing global connectivity and other emerging technologies, estimates there will be 40.9 billion active wirelessly interconnected “things” by 2020. The driving force is the usual suspect: the Internet of Things.
Just in time for Earth Day, chemicals leader Bayer MaterialScience reported from the UTECH Europe 2015 polyurethane show on programs and applications using its materials to help reduce energy usage. The company also gave an update on its CO2-based PU as that eco-friendly material comes closer to production.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
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