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National Association of Home Builders Showcase House Demonstrates Power of Plastics

Every year, the National Association of Home Builders, based in the United States, hosts an International Builders’ Show, at which representatives from home-building companies around the world mingle and learn about the most recent trends and innovations in the world of construction.

This year’s show, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, was planned around a showcase home demonstrating many recent innovations, […]

Rigid Plastic Producers Must Adapt to Compete with Flexible Packaging, Report Finds

Plastic packaging is often categorised into two categories: rigid packaging and flexible packaging. Flexible packaging, the relative newcomer to the scene, refers to packaging that does not have a rigid shape. Flexible packages, which are dominated by stand-up pouches and other soft-sided containers, require less material to produce, resulting in reduced costs and a lower environmental impact.

The rise of […]

Ocean Plastics Innovation Challenge to Spur Plastics Change

One of the main challenges that has been facing the plastics industry in the past decade has been dealing with the influx of plastics waste to the world’s oceans. According to the Ocean Conservancy, about 8 million metric tonnes of plastics enter the world’s oceans each year.

Given the importance of plastics to our modern way of life, and the […]

The Promise of Plastics for CO2 Sequestration

As anthropogenic global warming becomes an increasingly critical issue to address, some researchers have turned from finding ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to finding ways to remove carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere. Many believe that this process, known as sequestration, will be an essential tool in the fight against global warming.

Despite the promise that some researchers see in […]

Futuristic Boat Making Round-the-World Journey to Demonstrate Plastics Waste Reuse Technology

We’ve spent a lot of time reporting on efforts to reduce the impacts of plastics on the world’s oceans. Much of the activity in this field focuses on finding ways to reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean to begin with. Other efforts, such as the Ocean Cleanup Project, aim to solve the technical problems of collecting plastics […]

Ocean Cleanup Project Faces Challenges, Sees Opportunity

Several months ago, we reported on Ocean Cleanup Project, an ambitious attempt to develop an autonomous device capable of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. At that time, the first prototype device was being towed out to sea for testing.  Boyan Slat, the 24-year-old CEO of the company (and inventor of the original Ocean Cleanup Project) was hopeful. […]

Powder Bed Fusion: An Important 3d printing method comes of age

Many of us are familiar with the world of 3d printing with plastics and metals. In the most common scenario, a computer directs a device which extrudes polymers as it moves, building the 3d structure defined by a computer model one layer at a time.

One of the primary benefits of 3d printing is that it is an additive manufacturing […]

CR-39: An Unlikely Path for an Innovative Plastic Eyeglass Material (Part II)

In our last post, we traced the unlikely path of plastic resin compound CR-39 from a wartime aviation innovation to a promising material for a very different purpose: the production of eyeglasses.

This time, we’ll look at some of the technical challenges Dr. Robert Graham had to overcome before he was able to perfect the use of CR-39 for optical […]

CR-39: An Unlikely Path for an Innovative Plastic Eyeglass Material (Part I)

As described in earlier posts on this blog, the Second World War marked a major turning point for the development of the modern plastics industry. Shortages of important materials and manufactured products, including glass, steel, and rubber, among others, led entrepreneurs in the United States to develop new materials that could be produced cheaply and in large volumes and […]

The Past and Future of the Humble Drinking Straw

Straws have been in the news a lot lately. Although straws make up only a very small portion of plastic waste, they are a public symbol of the environmental impacts of the plastics industry. In this article, we’ll examine the history of straws and the benefits provided by using plastics to make straws. We’ll end by taking a look […]