Researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand have announced a new method that turns non-recyclable plastic knives, spoons, and forks into useful foam that can be used as insulation in walls and in the manufacture of marine buoys.
A report published by Technology Networks for technical news, today, Wednesday, stated, it was previously believed that the plastic cutlery that is used on dining tables, is made of a type of plastic that is not recyclable and reusable again, and cannot be turned into foam.
The report said, the research team at the University of Canterbury succeeded in overcoming this, by placing a sample of plastic knives, spoons, and forks in a chamber filled with carbon dioxide, whereas pressure increases, the gas dissolves in the plastic. When the researchers suddenly released the pressure in the chamber, carbon dioxide gas expanded inside the plastic, which led to the formation of foam.
Hyun Park, the lead author of the research said, the process is like opening a soda can and carbonating it. By adjusting the temperature and pressure, the researchers worked to create good foam, at the optimum temperature and pressure, to turn these plastics into foam.
The researchers explained that plastic materials lose part of their strength every time they are recycled, and therefore turning them into foam is an ideal solution, as the subject does not need a certain hardness.
Park said, let's say we have a plastic spoon that we use once, as when we recycle it into another spoon it may break in the mouth when used.
The research team believes that this process can be implemented on a large scale, by extending the applications of the foam to other types of plastic materials, not just this type of plastic.
The researchers considered that the new method for converting non-recyclable plastics into usable foam could contribute to reducing the global pollution problem, as these materials, after their use, usually decompose in nature and end up in sea and ocean waters and landfills. What constitutes a threat to the environment.