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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
In 2018, one of the fastest areas of packaging growth was in the realm of flexible packaging. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, flexible packaging refers to packaging that (unsurprisingly) can easily change in shape. Compared to traditional hard-sided packaging products, flexible packaging requires significantly less material.
Typically, flexible packaging takes the form of a stand-up pouch, and […]
September 2018 was an exciting time for “Ocean Cleanup”, an ambitious project aiming to remove floating plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an infamous gyre of floating plastic waste collected by currents in the East Pacific Ocean. The project aims to collect floating plastic materials by mimicking longshore currents that transport debris along natural shorelines.
After several years of […]
In countless posts on this blog, we’ve extolled the benefits of plastics – they are strong, impermeable, mouldable, and, critically, long-lasting.
One of the greatest strengths of plastics materials is that they are stable for remarkably long periods of time – they don’t break down quickly when exposed to light, heat, or air. That’s a good thing in an era […]
The 1950s were heady times in the world of plastics technologies. Plastics were part of a new wave of futuristic technologies that were predicted to change the world. At a time when flying cars and personal robots seemed just around the corner, its no surprise that the atmosphere was right for the introduction of new, plastics-based conveniences to everyday […]