💚 The Plastic That Eats Itself ♻️

💚 The Plastic That Eats Itself ♻️

By
Dennis Kamprad

Read Time:5 Minutes

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Happy Friday 👋

I have to admit, when it comes to tackling plastic pollution there’s one thing that I didn’t expect…

…and that’s plastic literally eating itself!

Out of all the recent innovations to fight plastic pollution, this might be my favorite one—mostly because it feels so unexpected.

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

  • How self-eating plastic could transform landfills ♻️
  • The global rise of wind energy 💨
  • The conservation efforts that improve biodiversity 🐤 
  • And more… 💚
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♻️ How Self-Eating Plastic Could Transform Waste Management

1️⃣ The big picture: Researchers have developed a groundbreaking type of plastic that can biodegrade by itself, as published in Nature Communications. This self-eating plastic, made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), incorporates spores of a heat-resistant, plastic-eating bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, which enables the plastic to decompose in landfills and natural environments.

2️⃣ Why is this good news: This innovation could drastically reduce plastic waste, particularly for TPU-based products like phone cases, car parts, and footwear, which are currently non-recyclable. The ability of this plastic to biodegrade after use could revolutionize the industry by providing an environmentally friendly disposal method for these durable goods.

3️⃣ What’s next: There are significant challenges ahead, including ensuring that the plastic products remain functional during use and confirming the scalability of this technology. The researchers need to further test the durability and practicality of these biodegradable plastics in real-world applications before they can move toward commercial production.

Related: Check out the best charities that fight to end plastic pollution to help make a difference already now.

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📢 Three More Good News

💨 The global rise of wind energy in 2023:

  • In 2023, the global wind power sector saw incredible expansion, installing 117 gigawatts of new capacity.
  • This is a 50% leap from the previous year, making it the best year we have for wind energy on record. Such an increase in wind installations also aligns with the global climate targets such as those set by the COP28 pledge and the Paris Agreement.
  • Now, the industry must aim for an annual growth rate of at least 320 gigawatts by 2030. It’s clear that wind power is receiving more and more recognition and value worldwide for its role in sustainable development and mitigating climate change, so there is hope in securing long-term success.

🐤 How conservation initiatives are turning the tide on biodiversity loss:

  • After analyzing hundreds of studies and trials, researchers have confirmed that most conservation efforts have improved or slowed down biodiversity decline.
  • Additionally, this discovery revealed the most effective conservation actions to take, such as managing invasive species and establishing more protected natural areas.
  • This study is undeniable evidence that will now serve as proof that conservation projects are worthy investments that typically yield incredible results and should receive higher funding.

🏛 How federal buildings are embracing renewable energy:

  • The Department of Energy has settled a new rule completely banning fossil fuels from new federal buildings and those being remodeled.
  • Despite facing initial criticisms, the Energy Department has shared that this new ruling will significantly lower costs in development and cut down carbon emissions by 2 million metric tons.
  • While this rule won’t impact current ongoing projects, it sets a precedent for future federal building developments, emphasizing the importance of environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions in building developments.
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📢 Even More Good News Headlines From This Week

🔋 A group of researchers has developed an efficient, sustainable method to recharge magnesium batteries

🪵 Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon falls to a 5-year low

🍃 Research suggests that wind farms are more land efficient than previously thought

🔋 A breakthrough in battery technology

🇪🇺 How the European Union is combatting plastic pollution

🌎 How an Amazonian town is setting the standard for sustainable living

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🤝 Important Awareness Events at a Glance

🌬️ National Clean Air Month:

  • National Clean Air Month was founded in 1972 by the American Lung Association to promote the benefits of clean air and encourage action to reduce air pollution. 
  • The event is kicked off with Air Quality Awareness Week, where each day is dedicated to a specific clean air initiative. During the rest of National Clean Air Month, communities and organizations hold events and activities to promote clean air, such as educational campaigns, and clean-up initiatives. 

🤱 May 3, World Maternal Mental Health Day

  • World Maternal Mental Health Day draws attention to the specific mental health conditions that affect mothers. 
  • These might include postpartum depression, isolation, anxiety, and more. 

⛰️ May 4, Greenery Day

  • Greenery Day is a Japanese national public holiday that celebrates the birthday of Emperor Showa, renamed to appreciate the greenery of Japan. 
  • This Japanese holiday is typically celebrated by exploring the outside and giving thanks to nature. 

❤️ May 5, National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day

  • This event, the National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day acknowledges the reality of the sheer number of missing and murdered Indigenous people. 
  • This awareness event aims to put an end to this trend and bring justice to the cases that have occurred and the victims that have suffered. 

Related: You can discover all the 158 most important awareness events (for the month, days, weeks) in our awareness calendar for May 2024!

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📜 These Days in History

👨🏻 May 3, 1919: Pete Seeger was born in New York City. He became a popular American folk music singer and wrote several songs on civil rights and environmentalism. His song “Sailing Up My Dirty Stream” was dedicated to the polluted Hudson River, and his album “Tomorrow’s Children” speaks upon social justice, cultural heritages, and environmental awareness for future generations.

👨🏻‍🏫 May 4, 1796: Horace Mann was born. Although he grew up in poverty, he educated himself in the town library and gained admission to the sophomore class at Brown University. He became the first American advocate of public education and believed that education should be free, and is seen as a model of humanitarian optimism.

👩🏻 May 5, 1809: Mary Dixon Kies became the first woman to receive a US patent for her silk and straw hats. She was congratulated by First Lady Dolley Madison for helping and inspiring women.

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💭 Quote of the Day

“Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.”

― Horace Mann; American educator, author, advocate of free education, and model of humanitarian optimism

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

Stay impactful 💚

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