The big botheration with plastics is that though they last for a very long time, most are thrown away after only one use. Since plastics were invented in the 1950s, about 8,300m metric tonnes (Mt) have been made, but over half (4,900 Mt) is already in landfill or has been lost to the environment. In 2010 alone, an estimated 4.8 to 12.7 Mt went into the oceans.

Only a small admeasurement of the hundreds of types of plastics can be recycled by accepted technology. But there are other things we can do to reuse plastics after they’ve served their aboriginal purpose. My research, for example, focuses on actinic recycling, and I’ve been attractive into how food packaging can be used to create new abstracts like wires for electricity.

In actinic recycling you use the basic elements to make new materials. All plastics are made of carbon, hydrogen and sometimes oxygen. The amounts and arrange of these three elements make each artificial unique. As plastics are very pure and highly aesthetic chemicals, they can be broken down into these elements and then bonded in altered arrange to make high value abstracts such as carbon nanotubes. In theory, the only side articles from doing this should be oxygen and hydrogen.

Carbon nanotubes are tiny molecules with absurd concrete properties. Think of a piece of craven wire captivated into a cylinder. This is what the anatomy of a carbon nanotube looks like. When carbon is abiding like this it can conduct both heat and electricity. These two altered forms of energy are each very important to ascendancy and use in the right quantities, depending on your needs.

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