Mukesh Doble and Trishul Artham, of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, grew cultures of three different kinds of fungi on polycarbonate plastic (including the industrial-strength white-rot fungus, which has been shown before to effectively biodegrade industrial pollutants). Duble and Artham found that the fungi grew best on plastic pretreated with ultraviolet light and heat. On the pretreated plastics, the fungi achieved substantial decomposition of the plastic, with no release of BPA. On the untreated plastic, there was almost no decomposition at all over a twelve-month span. Read the paper here.
It’s the bisphenol A (BPA) content in polycarbonate plastic that makes it so difficult to dispose of, and 2.7 million tons of it are manufactured per year. Recent studies have suggested that BPA can be harmful to human health (as well as environmental health), prompting a search for responsible and effective disposal methods. (via Environmental Health.)
Great news. But the question remains why we are manufacturing a product that contains something no one needs, wants and that is creating problems in the first place and then spending heaps of money and time on finding a solution for it, once again involving heat and UV, something that needs more energy thus creating more greenhouse gas emissions. The list goes on.
Why do we have o pay extra to get BPA free baby feeding bottles when that stuff is not needed in the first place? Why can manufacturers not simply stop using BPA and why is there no legislation.
And when we already have to collect all the PC to treat and and let it decompose, why can’t we rather recycle it once we have collected it?