“Green” means environmentally friendly and sustainable. Green chemistrycreates products and processes that are safer and cleaner — from the start.

eco-friendly plastic of the future – corn starch, water, and corn oil to make the plastic
enhance it’s plasticity by altering the chemical composition of the starch.

What really happens to the plastic you throw away (video 4:06} – the life cycles of three different plastic bottles, shedding light on the dangers these disposables present to our world.

  • Compostable Plastics are a new generation of plastics which are biodegradable and compostable. They are derived generally from renewable raw materials like starch (e.g. corn, potato, tapioca etc), cellulose, soy protein, lactic acid etc., are not hazardous/toxic in production and decompose back into carbon dioxide, water, biomass etc. when composted. Some compostable plastics may not be derived from renewable materials, but instead derived made from petroleum or made by bacteria through a process of microbial fermentation.
  • Plastic from carbon emissions – From heat-trapping methane emissions from dairy farms, pull the carbon from the air and use it to make stuff. By developing a ten-times more efficient bio-catalyst, the process strips the carbon from a liquefied gas and rearranges it into a long chain plastic molecule, removing more carbon from the atmosphere than the manufacturing emits.

That’s engineering

  • catalyst – A substance that triggers or speeds up a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
  • hydrophilic – Strongly attracted to (or readily dissolving in) water.
  • hydrophobic – Repelling (or not absorbing) water.
  • polymer – Substances whose molecules are made of long chains of repeating groups of atoms. Manufactured polymers include nylon, polyvinyl chloride (better known as PVC) and many types of plastics. Natural polymers include rubber, silk and cellulose (found in plants and used to make paper, for example).
  • toxic – Poisonous or able to harm or kill cells, tissues or whole organisms. The measure of risk posed by such a poison is its toxicity.

Engineering ideas

  • chemistry, plastic, process, catalyst, hydrophilic, hydrophobic, polymer, toxic

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

Learn more…

  • Green Plastics – news, discussion, videos, and other resources for people interested in biodegradable and environmentally-friendly plastics (also called “bioplastics” or “green plastics”).