First, Two Ways, Erika discussed on The Pulse

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Of living up to a place where there's less and i'll more comfort but there's no real good way to deal with the aftermath of that and so that's that's what i saw while i was there for erica. This frame the central dilemma of plastic as much as we might want to reduce our use. We are heavily dependent on plastic. And what's at stake isn't just straws and extra grocery bags and some cases at full lives and health people around the world is a big part of what pushed erica into the work. She does now at the national renewable energy laboratory figuring out a way. We can decrease the environmental harm of plastic rather than getting rid of it altogether. And not only that but hopefully using the plastic already exists to generate new renewable products. Plastic remember is made primarily from something we already use to make nearly every synthetic material you can think of fossil fuels. Plastic is highly abundant pretty dispersed across the planet and has a lot of really good energetic bonds in it that we can use for new products and energy that way erika's lab works with a bigger group called the bottle consortium. They're trying to figure out a way of unlocking that stored energy while at the same time tackling the growing problem of plastic pollution. Worst defenders when it comes to plastic pollution is p. e. t. or polyethylene tariff fallait. It's easier recycle than a lot of other plastics. But there's also a ton of it out there. Here's one of erica's colleagues. Another researcher at the lab named brandon. Not eric has said that that this is used in a lot of single use plastics. Like your soda bottles your water bottles your take takeout food containers sort of designed for a single use. They're really lightweight. So they're easier to escape out of you know where they should be and they end up in the in the places where we don't want them namely out in the environment and less of course they get recycled which can happen in one of two ways. The first is what's called mechanical recycling which basically means the plastic. It's crushed up melted down and reused. The problem is not only the material to be recycled contaminated with dirt and other plastics which interfere with the chemistry. But also the material begins to degrade and as a result. The recycled plastic is worse. Quality gets remade into lower price goods like carpet or park benches and eventually ends up in a landfill as for the second big option after mechanical recycling burning..

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