💚 Fully-Recyclable Bioplastic? 🦠

💚 Fully-Recyclable Bioplastic? 🦠

By
Dennis Kamprad

Read Time:5 Minutes

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Stay impactful,

Happy Tuesday 👋

Here are the impactful insights that I have for you today:

  • Researchers create sustainable bioplastic 🦠
  • ‘Extinct’ holly tree species rediscovered 🌳
  • Get involved in World Mental Health Day 🤯
  • And more… 💚

Plastic and sustainability are two opposing concepts, right? 

In my head anyway, but that’s also true for the common petrochemical-based and non-recyclable plastics that are used virtually everywhere…

But what if we could have biologically made ‘plastic’ that’s also fully recyclable?

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🦠 How Researchers are Creating an Infinitely Recyclable Bioplastic

1️⃣ The big picture: Researchers at the United States Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have come up with an innovative solution to the problem of unsustainable plastic production. The team has developed a fully recyclable material called polydiketoenamine, or PDK plastic. PDK is biologically made, using a modified E.Coli virus to create its base material. This is the first time that PDK’s have been produced using mainly bio-based materials, rather than petrochemicals. This development has wide implications for the plastic industry because it is recyclable, non-toxic, durable, and even stronger than many traditional plastics. 

2️⃣ Why is this good news: Every day, the equivalent of 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic are dumped into the world’s lakes, oceans, and rivers, affecting wildlife and water quality on a global scale. To make matters worse, traditional plastics are made from unsustainable materials such as oil, gas, and coal, which release harmful greenhouse gasses during the manufacturing process. Currently, just 9% of plastics are recycled, so a fully recyclable bio-plastic could change the face of the world’s plastic pollution problem. 

3️⃣ What’s next: The next step for the research team is to scale up the process of biodegradable PDK plastics for commercial use. They are also looking into ways to combat the massive amounts of plastic that are already being burned in landfills. 

👉 You can already help to fight the global issue of plastic pollution by contributing to the Best Charities That Fight to End Plastic Pollution.

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📢 More Good News…

🌳 Holly tree species rediscovered in Brazil after 200 years:

  • The Pernambuco holly (IIex sapiiformis) was feared to be extinct because it hadn’t been seen in nearly 200 years. However, researchers in Brazil have now found four specimens growing in the urban city of Igarassu.
  • This is the 9th most wanted lost species to be rediscovered since the Search for Lost Species initiative was launched by the IUCN and Re:Wild in 2017.
  • The research team, led by Gustavo Martinelli, now hopes to launch a breeding program for the species.

🏭 Global building regulations organization launches sustainability guidelines:

  • The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has published a sustainability guide for building professionals to incorporate sustainable processes into new builds. 
  • The guide covers topics such as green financing, zero-carbon energy production, material usage, and modern construction methods. 
  • The sustainability guide encourages building professionals around the world to put sustainability at the forefront of everything they do to achieve a net-zero target in the construction sector by 2050.

🌱 New pipeline can make valuable industrial chemicals from sugarcane:

  • A research team at the University of Illinois has developed a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to make succinic acid from sugarcane.
  • Succinic acid is widely used as a food additive and in pharmaceutical products but current methods for synthesizing the chemical are carbon-intensive.
  • The innovative end-to-end pipeline uses an acid-tolerant yeast as the fermenting agent, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
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🤯 Event of the Week: World Mental Health Day

👉 Did you know that today is World Mental Health Day? This event was set up in 1992 to provide a platform for people to open up about their own mental health struggles and feel accepted in society.

1️⃣ The big picture: World Mental Health Day was founded as an annual activity by the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health. It was initially set up to raise awareness of mental health issues and allow people living with mental health issues to live their lives with dignity and strength. Today, the awareness event is celebrated around the world through educational seminars, well being activities, and advocacy efforts to eliminate the social stigma that surrounds mental health. 

2️⃣ Why is this important: It’s estimated that 57.8 million people suffer from some sort of mental health disorder in the US alone. Globally, over 970 million people are living with a mental health condition, with anxiety and depression being the most common. Yet, just 19% of these receive the treatment they need. Mental health disorders are surrounded by stigma, making people less likely to seek treatment for fear of discrimination. For example, women are twice as likely to receive treatment than men, yet suicide rates for men are 3x higher than those for women. 

3️⃣ How can you get involved: The theme for World Mental Health Day 2023 is ‘mental health is a universal human right’. So, consider getting family and friends together to hold a Tea & Talk event. Alternatively, you can set up your own fundraising event to raise awareness of a mental health illness that’s close to your heart, or you can attend a mental health educational seminar to improve your knowledge of mental health issues. 

Additionally, you can check out the organizations below that fight for the rights of every human to receive the mental health treatment they need, no matter their ethnicity, gender, or background:

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📜 This Week in History

💪 October 10, 1845: George Bancroft, historian, secretary of the Navy, and educator, founded the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, to improve methods of instructing midshipmen.

🇫🇯 October 10, 1970: Fiji gained independence from Great Britain and established its own parliamentary democracy.

🧑‍🚀 October 11, 2000: The International Woman of the Year Association awarded the Greatest Woman Achiever of the Century title to Russian cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova. She was the first woman to travel into space.

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💭 Quote of the Day

“Once you’ve been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is.” 

— Valentina V. Tereshkova, Russian cosmonaut

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Share the news with your friends to make a bigger positive impact on the world and society together!

Stay impactful 💚

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