Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

But those can be recycled, can't they?



In theory, maybe. But it's super complicated

- Plastics really don't mix well. Even trace amount of a different polymer (those numbers in the bottom) will destroy the strength of a batch of plastic (there is research in this though) - Recycling is expensive and in an economic battle against new stock (carbon tax?).

Cleaving the bonds to make diesel or feedstock is another option to "recycle" polymers (I dunno why it's not done. energy intensive wrt to oil? Dirty?)

Plastics are amazing... but we really should stop using them altogether except for fringe no alternative cases.

P.S. turns out plastics are bio-degradable by some tough organisms. So there's hope.


Plastics being biodegradable might not be much of a net gain. It would help clean up some, but it also means all that carbon makes it’s way into the air. Mixed bag there.


Most plastics labelled "biodegradeable" aren't actually what they say. What they do is break down under ultraviolet light into very tiny particles you can't see but which are still plastic. These diffuse into the environment, but they never truly break down into more natural compounds.

It's the equivalent of sweeping all those bags under the rug. They're still out there, just permeating into everything instead of being visible.


I was referring to the fact that some microbes can actually metabolize certain plastics. But yeah, just breaking down into tiny pieces is definitely not great.


The clamshell type ones cannot.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: