Student figures out how to decompose plastic bags in 3 months

I figured that with the green contest going on, people would be interested in this, although they should be with or without a contest.

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NachoMahma9 years ago
. Impressive work! . But without knowing what he's left with in the bucket after the bacteria do their thing, it's impossible to tell if this will help the environment. I still think recycling works best for plastics.
Yes, recycling beats decomposition.
Tomton (author)  gimmelotsarobots9 years ago
I whole-heartedly agree,but I still thought this was interesting, and thought that it could be a building block to something bigger, maybe for communities that lack a recycling program? I'm not exactly sure, but I like the idea.
. I wasn't trying to denigrate his idea/research, only that there was not enough info given in the short article.
Tomton (author)  NachoMahma9 years ago
Again, I agree with you, I wish there was more there... unfortunately, there isn't more at that particular source, and I haven't had time to research it, so there might be an update to this post if I figure anything new out.
Well plastic bags are generally considered non recyclable so this is big... Linuxh4xor found a way of cating with tem, though not ideal it's a start and it can work with other stuff, such as milk crates, I've used them for onfires once upon a time, you light a corner and the whole thing melts down, like a wickless candle... Also until we find out the by products we don't really know what the effect wlll be...
Au contraire! Plastic bags are generally made of HDPE or LDPE (#4, I think). A plastics expert told me that HDPE is one of the -easiest- plastics to recycle; hence the bag collection for recycling at most grocery stores (around California, anyway.) Meanwhile, thirty + years after the first Earth Day, the big grocery chains are finally encouraging, even selling cheaply, re-usable grocery bags. To their credit though, most have been offering 5-10 cent "rebates" if you bring your own bag, which more and more people are doing, rebate or not. Trader Joe's, favorite food store of millions, has raffles. They give you a little ticket for your name and phone #. If your name is pulled in a weekly drawing, you win a 10 dollar gift card. I think it's very shrewd, most customers get no more than a paper ticket and the hope of winning, they probably save far more than cost of the gift cards they give away, and fewer disposable bags are used. And the rarely give out plastic bags at all. Now if only the non-food retailers would get on the bandwagon. Walgreens, are you listening? ;-)
Kiteman Marcos9 years ago
We aren't allowed to recycle plastic bags in our area - apparently the shredders at the recycling plant can't cope with them and jam.

We can take them back to our local Tesco and shove them in a special recycling bin there, but we prefer to semi-compromise: we usually use "proper" shopping bags, but occasionally get carrier-bags and then use them as bin-bags. No increase in the number of bags being used (we would otherwise be buying bin-liners), and the carriers are free.
The plastic is easily recyclable but due to the nature of the bags alot of recyclers aren't interested for whatever reason, despite them being quite an easy source of raw plastic, from what I gather it's a thermoplastic so you could literally remelt them and make new things.


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