Black gold – that is what most folks would describe oil as, and when processed into petroleum, it can be used in many other forms, from using it to power the cars that you drive around, in addition to producing the plastic bags that have become to scourge of sea turtles around the world. Scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands might have stumbled upon the next big thing – which is to make sure plastic bags are environmentally friendly. How is that possible? This is done thanks to an innovative new process which transforms plant material to plastic. While this idea is now new, but the Dutch scientists’ method have turned it into a viable process that is not only cheap but efficient. This technology employed relies on a new type of iron nanoparticle catalyst to synthesize ethylene and propylene, which are the building blocks of most modern plastics, derived from plant material.

Could this usher in a future that depends on materials that come from a 100% renewable source? The process relies on waste products including branches and grass clippings, but there are downsides to this process as well. Critics claim that converting biomass to plastic would mean creating a new non-biodegradable product, which would also add to the already full landfills if not many people decide to pick up the recycling habit.

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