Many waste items provide important value before being tossed into a bin. Discarded plastic products, for example, originally serve as packaging to keep school lunches fresh, lightweight bottles for efficiently transporting fresh water to hard-to-reach areas, containers for soaps and detergents that facilitate hygiene – and much more.
From the wings and fuselage to the seats and overhead bins, petrochemicals have been increasingly relied upon to make passenger aircraft lighter and stronger, cutting fuel use and costs and making air travel more sustainable at a time when more people are flying than ever before.
Neil Armstrong made history 50 years ago when he stepped off the Apollo 11 lunar module and onto the surface of the moon — the first human to set foot on the earth’s natural satellite.
Preface: So, I was asked if we can somehow tie Moon Day with petrochemicals. I said that I’m pretty sure space suits are made from synthetic materials, so that’s a pretty good tie-in.
Plastic roads and buildings, the influence of energy and petrochemicals in geopolitics, and chemical and molecular recycling processes that could create a truly circular economy for plastic products were just a few of the topics discussed at AFPM’s 44th International Petrochemical Conference (IPC) in San Antonio last week.
An engineer scoops a handful of tiny pellets out of a stainless-steel canister at a manufacturing plant in the Netherlands and rolls them around in his hand.
As petrochemicals and recycling advancements give old plastic new life over and over again—from shoes and clothes made of recycled plastic recovered from the ocean, to plastic bottles being chemically recycled into fuel and a raw material to make new petrochemicals—what it means to “recycle” is changing right before our eyes.