Here’s a summary of some of the interesting stories to be found in the chemical world this week:
+The American Chemistry Council released it’s weekly report this morning. The highlights include a reduction in jobless claims, a slight decrease in consumer spending, an increase in new home sales as compared to 2022 (but remains lower than 2021 levels), an increase in new orders for manufactured durable goods, and an overall 2.9% GDP growth in Q4. Link to the Article.
+The National Renewable Energy Lab in Colorado has released a study that suggests two popular plastic recycling methods used to turn plastic waste into fuel, pyrolysis and gasification, are dangerous for the environment. The problem is they are not “closed loop” recycling methods (methods that turn plastic waste into feedstock to make new plastics.
While methods is while they do turn the plastic waste into sources of fuel for energy, it is not an efficient process. Meaning that more energy is spent turning waste into energy than is produced by the now converted waste. In contrast one promising other method is the using ethylene glycol to break down the polymer chains to make feedstock to make new plastic.
Even with that alternative method only about 6% of plastic produced each year is recycled; meaning that until more advanced technology is developed the best option for the environment would be reducing the amount of plastic produced in the first place. Link to the Article.
+Researchers at the University of California Berkeley have developed a type of chemical chainmail from polymers that are interlocked at the molecular level, making a new material that is “extraordinarily flexible and resilient, which could lead to applications in materials science and synthetic biology”. Some applications could be alternatives for drug delivery and new biomaterials such as artificial muscle or skin. Link to the Article.