Tiny Robots Could Clean Up Microplastic Pollution

Good News Notes: “Microplastics—minuscule, hard-to-degrade fragments of clothing fibers, water bottles and other synthetic items—have made their way into air, water and soil around the world. Now new research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces shows a way to promote their deterioration, at least in water, with technology on an even smaller scale: microrobots. When added to water along with a bit…

How to fight microplastic pollution with magnets

Good News Notes: “As a child, Fionn Ferreira spent hours exploring the coastline near his hometown of Ballydehob in south-west Ireland. But the more time he spent on the sheltered, shingle-strewn coves nearby, he grew increasingly shocked by the large amounts of plastic litter he found strewn across the beach and in the sea. “It…

Mussels can be a natural filter to remove microplastics from the ocean

Good News Notes: “In the waters of a marina near the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England, a group of mussels are busy at work: filtering the water for microplastics. As the bivalves feed, they suck bacteria, algae, and anything else in their surroundings, including microplastics, out of the water and into their gills. When they…

This Styrofoam-like packaging is made of popcorn—not plastic

Good News Notes: “Those bits that come inside your packages are called peanuts, but of course they are made from polystyrene, not anything natural. But what if we could send things packaged in popcorn—the actual food, not another plastic-derived counterpart—instead? That’s the hope of researchers at the University of Göttingen in Germany, who have developed the plant-based…

These microscopic robots swim through the ocean and dissolve microplastics

Good News Notes: “Microplastics—tiny pieces of plastic smaller than five millimeters across—are everywhere, from snow in the Arctic and rain in the Rocky Mountains to bottled water and beer. On the ocean floor, there may be nearly 16 million metric tons of it. In the top 200 meters of the Atlantic Ocean, there may be 21 million more metric…

Biodegradable plastic that can break down in your compost developed by scientists

Good News Notes: “Biodegradable plastic bags, cutlery and coffee cup lids may seem like a win for the environment, but they often introduce more problems than solutions. Despite being touted as “green”, many of these plastics take just as long as their conventional counterparts to break down in home composts and landfill, leading to more pollution…

Plastic trash can now be recycled into ultra-strong graphene

Good News Notes: “Packaging from the grocery store, lint from our clothing, plastic shopping bags – plastics and microplastics are everywhere, and they’re not going anywhere. In fact, it will take them hundreds of years to decompose in landfills . In order to speed up this decomposition process, scientists from Rice University are transforming these discarded…