Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Beyond the blue bins: New American Chemical Society video on recycling

April 20, 2012
Just in time for Sunday's celebration of Earth Day, the American Chemical Society (ACS) today released a video revealing the journey that recyclable materials take beyond those blue curbside bins. In the latest episode of ACS' award-winning Bytesize Science series, viewers take a tour of a typical recycling center to see how these facilities sort the mountains of recyclables they receive every day. The video is available at www.BytesizeScience.com.

It points out that the average American generates about 4.5 pounds of trash every day. That's almost 250 million tons of waste every year - enough to bury more than 93,000 football fields in six feet of trash. Less than 25 percent of that is recycled. The rest winds up being burned or buried in landfills. Scientists say we could reuse or recycle more than 70 percent of that waste, which includes valuable materials like glass, aluminum and paper.

The video shows how the Montgomery County (Maryland) Recycling Facility in suburban Washington, DC, serves as one of the first links in the recycle-reuse chain. It receives more than 80,000 tons of mixed plastic, aluminum and other recyclables every year, and uses staff and machinery to sort out the various materials. Machines later compress the materials into large blocks - or "bales" - that can be made into new products. Those trashed aluminum cans, for instance, may become the engine block or alloy wheels in a new car or truck. Scrap paper may get a new life in tomorrow's newspaper, paper bags or other products.

American Chemical Society


Related Chemical Society Current Events and Chemical Society News Articles


A silver lining
The silver used by Beth Gwinn's research group at UC Santa Barbara has value far beyond its worth as a commodity, even though it's used in very small amounts.

Nanoparticle drug reverses Parkinson's-like symptoms in rats
As baby boomers age, the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease is expected to increase. Patients who develop this disease usually start experiencing symptoms around age 60 or older.

Engineering the P450 enzyme to perform new reactions
Enzymes, the micro machines in our cells, can evolve to perform new tasks when confronted with novel situations.

Flame retardants could contribute to hyperthyroidism in older cats
For years, health advocates have been pushing to ban some flame retardants for their potentially harmful effects, especially on young children and infants.

Desert plant could bolster world's supply of natural rubber
Tropical plantations in Southeast Asia have supplied most of the essential, natural rubber for truck, car and airplane tires for the past century.

Chemists create modular system for placing proteins on membranes
With a tag, an anchor and a cage that can be unlocked with light, chemists have devised a simple, modular system that can locate proteins at the membrane of a cell.

Scientists develop mesh that captures oil -- but lets water through
The unassuming piece of stainless steel mesh in a lab at The Ohio State University doesn't look like a very big deal, but it could make a big difference for future environmental cleanups.

'Parachuting' boron on benzene rings
Tuning the para position of benzene moieties is significant for creating biologically active compounds and optoelectronic materials.

Plant cell structure discovery could lead to improved renewable materials
Major steps forward in the use of plants for renewable materials, energy and for building construction could soon arise, thanks to a key advance in understanding the structure of wood.

How unwanted CDs and DVDs could help cut carbon emissions
Now that most consumers download and stream their movies and music, more and more CDs and DVDs will end up in landfills or be recycled.
More Chemical Society Current Events and Chemical Society News Articles

© 2015 BrightSurf.com