In the future, your plastic drink bottles and plastic computer cases could be made out of smokestack emissions. At least, that’s what Science Daily says about news from the American Chemical Society meeting. Chemists are very excited about using carbon dioxide emissions as a raw material for making polycarbonate plastic. One of the authors of the report, Thomas Muller, said, “Using CO2 to create polycarbonates might not solve the total carbon dioxide problem, but it could be a significant contribution.”
It’s tempting to snort “Oh, great, MORE cheap plastic crap.” In fact, as I was writing this, there was significant cynical snortage. But a solution that a) makes it economically desirable to reduce the amount of emissions going into the atmosphere; and b) turns something harmful into something useful is a good solution in my book. It’s not the Magical Fix-Everything Plan that puts a unicorn in every pot – obviously, as the state of the North Pacific Gyre demonstrates, we’ve got to get a lot better about reusing and recycling the plastic that we’ve already got. But wouldn’t it be neat to have a DVD made out of smoke?