CIRCULAR SOLUTION: Approaching The Era “Bread From Plastic”.

20. February 2022 | Waste, Politics | via


Researchers have developed a technique to turn bioplastics into fertilizer. (Credit: jdn2001cn0 / Pixabay)

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology discovered that when they chemically recycled specific bioplastics by using ammonia it generates an incredibly useful byproduct: nitrogen-rich urea. Urea happens to be the key ingredient in many synthetic fertilizers. Usually its energy intensive industrial production is said to account for 2% of global emissions annually. However, by generating urea as a byproduct, the researchers’ approach “emits no CO2,” says Aoki, one of the authors of the new study. “This presents a truly circular solution: bioplastic made from plants gets broken down into its base components, and turned into nutrients to grow new crops. Plus, there’s the additional bonus of removing plastic from the environment more rapidly, and reducing the pollution associated with fertilizers.” In a first attempt to test the quality of their uera they found that when the fed the recycled, urea-rich bioplastic solution to thale cress plants—a model organism that’s often used in plant research—these seedlings grew much better than plants that were fed a solution of urea alone. “We are convinced that the present study represents a milestone toward developing sustainable and recyclable polymer materials in the near future. The era of ‘bread from plastics’ is just around the corner.”, the researchers say.

N-fertilizer, where does it come from?