Sugar’s Greater Potential

The wily ways of the biggest petrochemical companies have been a concern since we started this platform, and when something seems like big news, but turns not to be so big, we share what we find.  We have previously shared a story or two about sugar’s potential as an energy source, but in its recent edition The Economist weighs in on what may be sugar’s bigger than big potential:

Better disposable coffee cups

They can be made with the waste from sugar cane

Sugar cane contains around 10% sugar. But that means it contains around 90% non-sugar—the material known as bagasse (pictured) which remains once the cane has been pulverised and the sugar-bearing juice squeezed out of it. World production of cane sugar was 185m tonnes in 2017. That results in a lot of bagasse. Continue reading

Lowly Creature May Represent Saving Grace


Wayne Boo/USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) for this new appreciation for an otherwise underappreciated creature:

A Worm May Hold The Key To Biodegrading Plastic


People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They’re made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down.

But a humble worm may hold the key to biodegrading them. Continue reading

Good News in Plastics

Compiled illustrations of a nylon chain above and PET chain below, both thermoplastic polymers, or simply put, types of plastic. Via WikiMedia, created by users YassineMrabet and Jynto, respectively.

There’s some cause to celebrate from a couple findings published recently in two journals, Nature and Animal Conservation, related to plastics, though of very different sorts. The first paper deals with a new method of plastic production using carbon dioxide and agricultural waste rather than petroleum as the raw input for PET plastic, and the second article studies the feasibility of introducing biodegradable fishing nets to replace nylon ones.

Continue reading

“I just want to say one word to you. Just one word….Plastics” *

Yes, Plastics.  That ubiquitous, universal petroleum product that no one but a Hottentot can pass a day without touching.

It’s impossible to conceive of a world completely devoid of plastics, but we certainly can conceive of alternatives to at least some of its uses.  Forums such as Fortune’s Brainstorm Green bring together innovators and day dreamers with tangible results.

Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, co-founders of Ecovative Design, aren’t much older than Benjamin Braddock *  was when he received that erstwhile advice. Continue reading