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Thread: Plastics's Biodegradability

  1. #1 Plastics's Biodegradability 
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    Hi guys,
    How can we enhance the degradability of plastics in nature?
    You think waste waters will contain any plastic eating microbe? Or
    You think we can modify a microbe's metabolism by depriving it of a limiting nutrient factor( eg- Carbon) so that it uses up the carbon present in the plastics?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    Plastic contains chemical energy - you can set fire to almost any piece of plastic and obtain heat.

    So I suppose sooner or later some plastic-eating microbes or other organisms will come into existence, wether by evolution or by human design.


    And then we will be in big trouble. For one thing, think of all the plastic piping and plastic-insulated cables that is buried in the ground and expected to last almost forever.

    Water pipes, sewage pipes, gas mains, power, telephone lines etc would suddenly start rotting and need replacement, say, every 3 years instead of 20 or 40.

    What about all the layers of insulating foil in the foundations and floors of buildings. No way to replace them without pulling the whole thing down.

    And these are just a few examples.

    Take care,
    Leszek.


    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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  4. #3  
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    See, my purpose is not to degrade the useful plastics in our env, rather its the plastics that we consider as rubbish that i'm interested, rather concerned, in. Plastic is becoming a major pollutant all over the world, especially in third world countries, and burning the plastic is not at all the solution as it emits harmful fumes that are not only carcinogenic but also causes n no. of respiratory defects.
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  5. #4  
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    pretty complex issue here. Plastic already degrades naturally though very very slowly. I think what we can do is create a microbe that responds and is triggered by a certain chemical that the plastic can be treated with. The plastic that has this chemical is eaten by this microbe and the non treated plastic is left alone. While difficult I believe this is achievable.
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  6. #5  
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    I think we're more concerned about natural selection allowing such bacteria arise naturally which would be out of our control. (a bit like nylonase producing pseudomonas).
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  7. #6  
    Time Lord
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    We put starch in the plastics meant to degrade.


    The new PEX pipes used in most new construction have an unforeseen weakness. I've read reports of rodents chewing through the plastic. And this is water under pressure so the property damage can be serious. Since house mice and rats do require a moisture source, and they're mammals able to learn and pass survival skills, it is possible some will thrive by irrigating the house they're in until evicted to the next one.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman RathDinen's Avatar
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    Do anyone know about the number in recycle logo that usually be at the bottom of bottles or plastic container?

    A friend told me that we cannot use the plastic bottles or container that comes with number 1-3 because the plastics materials will be absorbed into the food or water...better choose container with number 4-7 cause it safer.....why is that?
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