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Hokkaido University

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Scientists develop method to transform plastic waste into a powerful climate solution: 'It's a game-changer'

Scientists have developed a method that will allow plastic waste to be used in chemical reactions that make toxic compounds safer — and the process involves smashing plastic bags with a metal ball.Plastic bags — like the kind you find in grocery stores — have long been detrimental to human, animal, and environmental health because of choking hazards and the fact that they take hundreds of years to break down. Now, researchers at the Institute for Chemical Reaction Design and Discovery (ICReDD) at Hokkaido University have discovered that when plastic bags are thrown into a ball mill (which rapidly mixes solids using a steel ball), their chemical bonds break apart, creating radicals, which are agents that set off chemical reactions that lead to dehalogenation, according to Interesting Engineering.These radicals can strip halogens out of toxic substances, thus making them safer for everyone and everything that comes into contact with them. Interesting Engineering says of the breakthrough, "It's a game-changer for handling toxic compounds used in various industries."Since humans produce a scary amount of plastic waste — about 267 million tons a year, according to some estimates — finding alternative uses for plastic is essential in curbing pollution to keep as much plastic waste out of our environment as possible. Scientists have also developed ways to convert plastic waste into valuable chemicals, asphalt, and energy."I believe that this approach will lead to not only the development of safe and highly efficient radical-based reactions, but also to a new way to utilize waste plastics, which are a serious social problem," said associate professor Koji Kubota of Hokkaido's ICReDD program, which operates in conjunction with the World Premier International Research Center Initiative.
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  • Ann Nyambura

    5 d

    This is exactly the kind of innovation we need to combat plastic pollution.

    • Grace Njeri

      1 w

      Urgent action is required at all levels to reduce plastic consumption, improve waste management systems, and promote sustainable alternatives.

      • We Don't Have Time

        2 w

        Dear johnte ndeto Your climate love has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to Hokkaido University by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

        • George Kariuki

          2 w

          Huge props to the scientists at Hokkaido University for this breakthrough. We need more innovations like this to tackle the plastic pollution crisis.

          • walter lungayi

            2 w

            Great news!!! This innovation has the potential to address both plastic pollution and climate change, offering a promising solution to pressing environmental challenges.

            • Jane Wangui

              2 w

              This is quite the invention..who would have thought that weld get useful chemicals for plastic waste...more inventions like this will surely solve the problem of climate change.

              • Princess

                2 w

                This advancement has the potential to revolutionize how we perceive and manage plastic waste, turning it from a problem into a valuable resource.

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