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Turning Sawdust into Plastic

Here's how one startup is turning trees into recyclable plastic bottles.🌳

Unexpected materials used as plastic alternatives

Origin Materials has developed a way to make recyclable plastic bottles from wood waste —instead of petroleum. The company extracts cellulose from wood to make paraxylene, a chemical used to manufacture PET bottles — PET bottles are usually made from petroleum and natural gas. Production and incineration of plastic release emissions — from as much as 189 coal power plants in 2019 according to the Center for International Environmental Law.

Startup Origin Materials is offering to pay $20 a ton for sawdust leftover at sawmills from transforming logs into lumber. To do this, Origin Materials extracts cellulose from the wood waste to create para-xylene, which is a hydrocarbon typically obtained from oil and used to produce polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is a strong, clear and lightweight plastic that is among the most commonly used plastics. Opting to use wood waste instead of oil to manufacture the plastic resin absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, according to Origin Materials, whereas drilling for the crude oil to manufacture plastic resin releases greenhouse gas emissions.

Critics of bioplastics say bottles could still end up in oceans and rivers. Bissell says part of solving the plastic problem is reaching better collection and recycling rates, reducing emissions, and thinking of sustainable ways to make it. Origin Materials is not alone its efforts to create plastic alternatives to help prevent plastic waste overcrowding landfills and overwhelming the world’s oceans, resulting in a world-wide plastic waste crisis. Startups and researchers the world over are turning to unexpected materials to use in the development of plastic alternatives including avocado seeds, lobster shells, fish scales and red algae and cactus leaves. Nestle, Danon and PepsiCo plan to use Origin’s bottles in 2022.

Brut.

10/22/2019 11:58 AM
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102 comments

  • Dienel M.
    11/01/2019 02:39

    you can only use this kind of tech after we all know how to plant more trees

  • Alejo A.
    10/31/2019 23:59

    How about converting plastics into trees. Its more more brilliant than your present invention.

  • Abdulrasheed Y.
    10/31/2019 21:09

    Let's ship the plastic waste to another planet say Neptune or Pluto

  • Ahmed N.
    10/30/2019 20:36

    Yeh... We need to cut more trees that doesn't ALREADY exist....

  • Leandro O.
    10/30/2019 13:40

    Wait wait... Turning wood into plastic is supoosed to be a good thing? Really?

  • C A.
    10/30/2019 01:34

    Do it

  • Raymond J.
    10/30/2019 01:32

    wood plastic, there are lots of so called "bioplastics" yet floats on the ocean, still take years to degrade, why not bamboo cups as cups spoon fork, less process involve but really biodegradable and very environment friendly

  • Tajay R.
    10/29/2019 18:21

    But you’re sacrificing trees and we need trees to live and without trees there will be drought and with drough we will have no food and no food equal starvation and starvation leads to death. Just stop cutting the damn trees and make glass bottles

  • Protap D.
    10/29/2019 18:02

    very bad idea , should save trees and try to collect co2 from air

  • Kerwin S.
    10/29/2019 16:04

    How does cutting trees assist in helping the environment....

  • Rassan A.
    10/29/2019 15:56

    Plastic is plastic no matter the origin this is double pollution

  • Ghani Z.
    10/29/2019 11:39

    Bamboo does it 100 times better.

  • FATIMA R.
    10/29/2019 11:18

    NO!

  • Gervais L.
    10/29/2019 05:54

    So to reduce plastic we need to cut more trees. NICE.

  • Luz A.
    10/29/2019 02:17

    Quiere decir que para contruir botellas de plástico van a desaparecer todos los árboles v,que bonito, que adelanto ,solo son inventos tontos

  • Donita I.
    10/29/2019 01:57

    There are many possible raw materials to use in producing bioplastics. How about the sugarcane bagasse? Banana pseudo stems, or avocado pits? I am recently conducting a research about bioplastics, and i think this is not a great idea. There are a lot more waste that doesnt need to use wood pulps.

  • Perry P.
    10/29/2019 01:17

    Say HEMP fools cut trees.

  • Mohammed A.
    10/28/2019 22:50

    How many trees do u plant wen u destroy to make more plastic that is polluting our seas an oceans ???

  • Yazid R.
    10/28/2019 22:08

    قطع الاشجار اسوء ومكلف من البلاستك

  • Jackie S.
    10/28/2019 20:31

    Doggy hellpin m. E