JAN 03, 2017 6:27 AM PST

Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Recycling Plastics into Fuel

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Plastic waste products are ubiquitous in our daily lives. From shopping bags to bottles, it's estimated that Americans alone produce about 10.5 million tons of plastic waste every year. Tragically, we only recycle about 1 to 2 percent of this wasted resource, with the rest left for eternity in our landfills and oceans.

A clever group of scientists at the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry and the University of California, Irvine wanted to solve the problem of plastic waste. Furthermore, they also wanted to tackle the ever-increasing need for fuel resources. Ingeniously, they devised a chemical reaction that would turn the polyethylene components of plastics into diesel fuel. The process involves rearranging the carbon and hydrogen atoms into alkanes. The byproduct is diesel fuel and a waxy residue that can be turned into resin.

Watch the video to learn more about this clever reaction.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
NOV 24, 2020
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
The ongoing worldwide pandemic places the mental health of many communities on red alert. But there may be a remedy to e ...
DEC 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
DEC 29, 2020
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
The fact that the Sun's distant atmosphere is significantly hotter than its surface has been a topic of confusion in ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
JAN 13, 2021
Dwarf Giraffes Observed for the First Time Ever
The name “dwarf giraffe” certainly seems like an oxymoron, which is why scientists were shocked to observe t ...
MAY 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
First Matter in the Universe Flowed Like Tap Water
MAY 29, 2021
First Matter in the Universe Flowed Like Tap Water
In two separate studies, researchers led by those at the University of Copenhagen and Queen Mary University of London fo ...
JUN 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
JUN 05, 2021
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
Washington State University (WSU) has announced the opening of a multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scie ...
JUL 15, 2021
Neuroscience
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
JUL 15, 2021
Like Humans, Rats Help Friends Before Strangers
Just like humans, rats tend to help members of their own social group before strangers. The findings may help researcher ...
Loading Comments...