At long last, new plastics for baby bottles, shopping bags, and much more

Sep 21, 2011

With most of the plastics that define modern life dating to the1930s-1960s, a new breed of these ubiquitous materials are starting to gain a foothold in products ranging from teapots to potato chip bags to plastic plant pots that biodegrade right in the soil. That's the topic of the covers story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

In the article, C&EN Senior Editor Alexander H. Tullo explains that a "golden age of polymers," spanning the late 1930s through the mid-1960s, engendered nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polyester, and other that have replaced everything from silk to steel in everyday products. Those traditional plastics were so successful that they fostered development of an infrastructure with multi-million-ton-per-year production for plastic beverage bottles, for instance, and shopping bags.

With that success, manufacturers were reluctant to switch to new and untested plastics, and companies that tried to introduce innovative polymers faced an Everest-like-landscape of hurdles. The article describes how a new genre of plastics is overcoming those barriers. Among them is a new plastic with the crystal-clear clarity, toughness, resistance to heat, and other advantages needed to compete with polycarbonate. Made without the worrisome bisphenol A (BPA), it is replacing polycarbonate in baby bottles and beverage . Another new plastic has potential for fighting global warming, consisting of consisting of 40 per cent carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Explore further: A new approach to creating organic zeolites

More information: “Breaking in the New” pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/89/8938cover.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

DVDs and CD-ROMs that thwart global warming

Apr 08, 2008

Carbon dioxide removed from smokestack emissions in order to slow global warming in the future could become a valuable raw material for the production of DVDs, beverage bottles and other products made from ...

Canada to ban BPA baby bottles

Apr 18, 2008

Canada became the first country to declare the widely used chemical bisphenol A unsuitable for use in baby bottles and set a ban mechanism in motion Friday.

Recommended for you

A new approach to creating organic zeolites

Jul 24, 2014

Yushan Yan, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Delaware, is known worldwide for using nanomaterials to solve problems in energy engineering, environmental sustainability and electronics.

A tree may have the answers to renewable energy

Jul 23, 2014

Through an energy conversion process that mimics that of a tree, a University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientist is making strides in renewable energy technologies for producing hydrogen.

User comments : 0