Fantastic Plastic

Reduce, Reuse… Refashion?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Plastics are everywhere – our homes, offices, and sadly our environment. They don’t break down easily so they accumulate in oceans and landfills. So don’t forget to recycle! But how else can we limit our litter?

Meet Hai Minh Duong and Nhan Phan-Thien at the National University of Singapore.

They’ve found a STYLISH new way to reuse plastic water bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or P-E-T!

How, you ask? Their students melted and squished P-E-T bottles into strings. These spaghetti-like strings were mixed into a sauce made of silica, a major component in sand. Eventually the saucy noodles dried and became an AEROGEL!

Aerogels are solid, ultralight foam materials that are useful in home insulation..

And? The Aerogel insulation beat out silica or P-E-T alone – showing that the COMBINATION of the two is key.

Not only that! Other innovators have spun these recycled plastic threads into fashion fabrics that are being snapped up by top designers!

Hmmm.. maybe I will let my teen daughter wear trashy outfits. It’s for the planet!