From the New York Times,
Designing the Death of a Plastic
by Xiaozhi Lim, August 6, 2018
Decades ago, synthetic polymers became popular because they were cheap and durable—Greek for “many parts,” because they are long chains of many identical molecules — polymers were not designed to disintegrate or disappear. On the contrary, they were meant to last as long as possible once they began replacing metals and glass in long-lasting things like automobiles and airplanes..
Now, scientists are creating material that self-destructs or breaks down for reuse on command.
So, here we are, with literally billions of tons of plastic waste, filling up landfills, strewn all over the environment, floating in great mats in the ocean. Some estimates show that a mere 10% of all plastics are recycled every year.
Many places are trying to ban single-use plastics, but much more needs to be done. Happily, scientists who…
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