Pollution to Plastic

We must protect the environment, pollute less and live in more sustainable ways if we are to leave a healthy Earth to our children. The solution is in innovation and many business companies across the world work to find more sustainable ways to make our economy more environmentally friendly.

Newlight plasticsThis morning on TV, I watched a clip about a California based company called Newlight Technologies, who have found a way to transform pollution in the air to plastics.

Today most plastic comes from oil, and making plastics is a polluting process. The plastics industry creates 800 million kilo of carbon emissions every year.

Inspired by the carbon-capturing processes found with plants in nature, Newlight has invented and commercialized a carbon capture technology that uses air and greenhouse gas as a resource to produce a plastic material that can match the performance of oil-based plastics and significantly out-compete on price.

Newlight captures carbon emissions from farms, landfills, and energy facilities and they are fed into a 15 meter tall reactor at Newlight’s plant. A bundle of enzymes strips out the carbon and oxygen and rearranges them into a substance they call air carbon. The product is then melted down and cooled inside tubes and sliced into little plastic pellets that can be molded into anything. Here is an article at CleanTechnica that explains more.

Newlight is selling its plastic to companies such as furniture makers who uses it to create chairs. There are also air carbon cell phone cases, soap dishes and plastic bags. At a recent Fortune Magazine event, Michael Dell announced his company will use Newlight’s air carbon bags to wrap its computers.

Newlight’s CEO, Mark Herrema calls Newlight´s innovation “a disruptive technology that is going change the world.” Maybe it will, maybe it will not be commercially viable, but what is important is that many companies like Newlight exists and every day make improvements to how we can live more sustainably.

Turning Air into Plastic

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