Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Recyclable materials


We have produced stretchable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) using the concept of kirigami, i.e., a combination of folding and cutting. The designated kirigami patterns have been discovered and implemented to achieve great stretchability (over 150%) to LIBs that are produced by standardized battery manufacturing. It is shown that fracture due to cutting and folding is suppressed by plastic rolling, which provides kirigami LIBs excellent electrochemical and mechanical characteristics. The kirigami LIBs have demonstrated the capability to be integrated and power a smart watch, which may disruptively impact the field of wearable electronics by offering extra physical and functionality design spaces.

Concepts: Lithium-ion battery, Recyclable materials, Design, Lithium, Lithium battery, Rechargeable battery


Concerns regarding marine plastic pollution and its affinity for chemical pollutants led us to quantify relationships between different types of mass-produced plastic and organic contaminants in an urban bay. At five locations in San Diego Bay, CA we measured sorption of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) throughout a 12-month period to the five most common types of mass-produced plastic: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP). During this long-term field experiment, sorption rates and concentrations of PCBs and PAHs varied significantly among plastic types and among locations. Our data suggest that for PAHs and PCBs, PET and PVC reach equilibrium in the marine environment much faster than HDPE, LDPE and PP. Most importantly, concentrations of PAHs and PCBs sorbed to HDPE, LDPE and PP were consistently much greater than concentrations sorbed to PET and PVC. These data imply that products made from HDPE, LDPE and PP pose a greater risk than products made from PET and PVC of concentrating these hazardous chemicals onto fragmented plastic debris ingested by marine animals.

Concepts: Linear low-density polyethylene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Thermoplastic, Plastic recycling, Recyclable materials, Plastics, Plastic, Polypropylene


We developed a rapid and simple method for evaluating the degradation of solid biodegradable plastics (BPs). Dye-containing BP films were used as substrates and the release of dye caused by the degradation of BPs was confirmed by a color change in the enzyme solution after a reaction time of 24 h.

Concepts: Recyclable materials, Bioplastic, Biodegradation, Enzyme, Catalysis, Starch, Plastic, Biodegradable plastic


The consumption of bottled water in Italy began in the 1970s. Since then, this usage has grown considerably, also as a result of changes in habits. The environmental impact as a result of the water production chain is very significant; it would be considered, for example, the use of plastic bottles, the consumption of oil in the production of the bottles, the emission of air from the vehicles that transport the bottles, non-recycled plastic packaging, etc. In this study, considering the comparison between two situations, use of bottled water and use of water kiosk (WK), an environmental and economic impact evaluation has been done. The study considered the production of a WK in a town with 9000 inhabitants, which supplies controlled, still and sparkling water, with an organoleptic quality higher than tap water coming from the aqueduct. In particular, taking into consideration the environmental aspects, specific attention was paid both to CO2 emissions and PET bottle waste reduction. The economic impact evaluation was carried out from the consumer’s point of view. In order to provide a supply service that was economically sustainable, a calculation was done with the aim of determining a specific fee for the supplied water. Moreover, a comparison has been made between quality parameters achieved with the analysis of water from aqueducts with the limits established in the Italian legislation and the parameters of several Italian water brands. The study has the aim at considering the opportunity to follow a different people’s habits, closer to the concept of sustainability, reducing the environmental charge related to the realization, transport and consumption of plastic water bottles without significant reduction of the quality of the service and with convenient and interesting economic implications. In fact the results of the study show that the alternative of WKs is more efficient in economic and environmental terms respect to the use of bottled water.

Concepts: Plastic bottle, Recycling, Bottles, Recyclable materials, Bottled water, Aqueduct, Carbon dioxide, Bottle


To reduce cost and secondary pollution of spent lithium ion battery (LIB) recycling caused by complicated separation and purification, a novel simplified recycling process is investigated in this paper. Removal of magnesium is a common issue in hydrometallurgy process. Considering magnesium as an important additive in LIB modification, tolerant level of magnesium in leachate is explored as well. Based on the novel recycling technology, Li[(Ni(1/3)Co(1/3)Mn(1/3))(1-x)Mg(x)]O(2) (0≤x≤0.05) cathode materials are achieved from spent LIB. Tests of XRD, SEM, TG-DTA and so on are carried out to evaluate material properties. Electrochemical test shows an initial charge and discharge capacity of the regenerated LiNi(1/3)Co(1/3)Mn(1/3)O(2) to be 175.4mAhg(-1) and 152.7mAhg(-1) (2.7-4.3V, 0.2C), respectively. The capacity remains 94% of the original value after 50 cycles (2.7-4.3V, 1C). Results indicate that presence of magnesium up to x=0.01 has no significant impact on overall performance of Li[(Ni(1/3)Co(1/3)Mn(1/3))(1-x)Mg(x)]O(2). As a result, magnesium level as high as 360mgL(-1) in leachate remains tolerable. Compared with conventional limitation of magnesium content, the elimination level of magnesium exceeded general impurity-removal requirement.

Concepts: Nickel-cadmium battery, Lithium-ion polymer battery, Recyclable materials, Lithium battery, Rechargeable battery, Lithium, Battery, Lithium-ion battery


Many methods have been reported and used to include recycling in life cycle assessments (LCAs). This paper evaluates six widely used methods: three substitution methods (i.e. substitution based on equal quality, a correction factor, and alternative material), allocation based on the number of recycling loops, the recycled-content method, and the equal-share method. These six methods were first compared, with an assumed hypothetical 100% recycling rate, for an aluminium can and a disposable polystyrene (PS) cup. The substitution and recycled-content method were next applied with actual rates for recycling, incineration and landfilling for both product systems in selected countries. The six methods differ in their approaches to credit recycling. The three substitution methods stimulate the recyclability of the product and assign credits for the obtained recycled material. The choice to either apply a correction factor, or to account for alternative substituted material has a considerable influence on the LCA results, and is debatable. Nevertheless, we prefer incorporating quality reduction of the recycled material by either a correction factor or an alternative substituted material over simply ignoring quality loss. The allocation-on-number-of-recycling-loops method focusses on the life expectancy of material itself, rather than on a specific separate product. The recycled-content method stimulates the use of recycled material, i.e. credits the use of recycled material in products and ignores the recyclability of the products. The equal-share method is a compromise between the substitution methods and the recycled-content method. The results for the aluminium can follow the underlying philosophies of the methods. The results for the PS cup are additionally influenced by the correction factor or credits for the alternative material accounting for the drop in PS quality, the waste treatment management (recycling rate, incineration rate, landfilling rate), and the source of avoided electricity in case of waste incineration. The results for the PS cup, which are less dominated by production of virgin material than aluminium can, furthermore depend on the environmental impact categories. This stresses the importance to consider other impact categories besides the most commonly used global warming impact. The multitude of available methods complicates the choice of an appropriate method for the LCA practitioner. New guidelines keep appearing and industries also suggest their own preferred method. Unambiguous ISO guidelines, particularly related to sensitivity analysis, would be a great step forward in making more robust LCAs.

Concepts: Waste, Waste treatment technology, Recyclable materials, Incineration, Life cycle assessment, Landfill, Waste management, Recycling


This paper deals with the migration of selected hydrocarbon contaminants, namely mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH), diisopropyl naphthalenes (DIPN) and polyalphaolefins (PAO) from adhesives into dry semolina and egg pasta packaged in direct contact with recycled paperboard. Migration was monitored during its shelf life (for up to two years) simulating storage in a supermarket (packs on shelves) and conditions preventing exchange with the surrounding environment (packs wrapped in aluminium foil). Migration from the secondary packaging (transport boxes of corrugated board) was also studied for semolina pasta. After 24 months of exposure, semolina pasta stored on shelves reached 3.2 and 0.6 mg kg(-1) of MOSH and MOAH, respectively, Migration from the adhesives used to close the boxes and from the transport boxes contributed about 30% and 25% of the total contamination, respectively. The highest contamination levels (14.5 and 2.0 mg kg(-1) of MOSH and MOAH, respectively, after 24 months) were found in egg pasta stored on shelves (no adhesives), and seemed due to the highest contribution from the external environment.

Concepts: Semolina, Recyclable materials, Pasta, Aluminium, Packaging materials, Paperboard, Petroleum, Corrugated fiberboard


Microplastic fibers (MP) from textile weathering and washing are increasingly being recognized as environmental pollutants. The majority of studies on the bioavailability and effects of microplastic focused on small polystyrene spherical plastic particles, while less data are available for fibers and for other materials besides polystyrene. We investigated the ingestion and effects of ground polyethylene terephthalate (PET) textile microfibers (length range: 62-1400 μm, width 31-528 μm, thickness 1-21.5 μm) on the freshwater zooplankton crustacean Daphnia magna after a 48 h exposure and subsequent 24 h of recovery in MP free medium and algae. The majority of ingested fibers by D. magna were around 300 μm, but also some very large twisted MP fibers around 1400 μm were found inside the gut. Exposure to these fibers results in increased mortality of daphnids after 48 h only in the case where daphnids were not pre-fed with algae prior to experiment, but no effect was found when daphnids were fed before the experiments. Regardless of the feeding regime, daphnids were not able to recover from MP exposure after additional 24 h incubation period in a MP free medium with algae. The uptake and effects of PET textile MP on D. magna are presented here for the first time.

Concepts: Recyclable materials, Polymer, Polyester, Water, Branchiopoda, Thermoplastic, Polyethylene terephthalate, Eating


Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in plastic bottles and inner coating of beverage cans, and its exposure is almost ubiquitous. BPA has been associated with hypertension and decreased heart rate variability in the previous studies. The aim of the present study was to determine whether increased BPA exposure from consumption of canned beverage actually affects blood pressure and heart rate variability. We conducted a randomized crossover trial with noninstitutionalized adults, who were aged ≥60 years and recruited from a local community center. A total of 60 participants visited the study site 3 times, and they were provided the same beverage in 2 glass bottles, 2 cans, or 1 can and 1 glass bottle at a time. The sequence of the beverage was randomized. We then measured urinary BPA concentration, blood pressure, and heart rate variability 2 hours after the consumption of each beverage. The paired t test and mixed model were used to compare the differences. The urinary BPA concentration increased after consuming canned beverages by >1600% compared with that after consuming glass bottled beverages. Systolic blood pressure adjusted for daily variance increased by ≈4.5 mm Hg after consuming 2 canned beverages compared with that after consuming 2 glass bottled beverages, and the difference was statistically significant. The parameters of the heart rate variability did not show statistically significant differences.The present study demonstrated that consuming canned beverage and consequent increase of BPA exposure increase blood pressure acutely.

Concepts: Time, Artery, Glass bottle, Blood, Bisphenol A, Recyclable materials, Blood pressure, Bottle


Concerns regarding plastic debris and its ability to accumulate large concentrations of priority pollutants in the aquatic environment led us to quantify relationships between different types of mass-produced plastic and metals in seawater. At three locations in San Diego Bay, we measured the accumulation of nine targeted metals (aluminum, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, zinc, cadmium and lead) sampling at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months, to five plastic types: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP). Accumulation patterns were not consistent over space and time, and in general all types of plastic tended to accumulate similar concentrations of metals. When we did observe significant differences among concentrations of metals at a single sampling period or location in San Diego Bay, we found that HDPE typically accumulated lesser concentrations of metals than the other four polymers. Furthermore, over the 12-month study period, concentrations of all metals increased over time, and chromium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, zinc and lead did not reach saturation on at least one plastic type during the entire 12-month exposure. This suggests that plastic debris may accumulate greater concentrations of metals the longer it remains at sea. Overall, our work shows that a complex mixture of metals, including those listed as priority pollutants by the US EPA (Cd, Ni, Zn and Pb), can be found on plastic debris composed of various plastic types.

Concepts: Zinc, Nickel, Plastic recycling, Plastic, Plastics, Recyclable materials, Metal, Polypropylene