Research has found a 'green' way of disposing toxic plastic waste. Plastic used in screwdriver handles, eyeglass lenses, DVDs, and CDs, among other things, can be pretreated to dispose it off in an environment-friendly way, a new study shows.
Mukesh Doble and Trishul Artham note that manufacturers produce every year about 2.7 million tonnes of polycarbonate plastic, which is a source of ecological headache as it contains bisphenol A (BPA).
Some studies have suggested that BPA may have a range of adverse health effects, sparking the search for an environmentally safe way of disposing off waste plastic to avoid release of BPA.
The scientists pretreated polycarbonate with ultraviolet light and heat and exposed it to three kinds of fungi — including the fabled white-rot fungus, used commercially for environmental remediation of the toughest pollutants.
The scientists found that fungi grew better on pretreated plastic, using its BPA and other ingredients as a source of energy and breaking down the plastic, says a release of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
After 12 months, there was almost no decomposition of the untreated plastic, compared to substantial decomposition of the pretreated plastic, with no release of BPA.
The new study was published in ACS journal Biomacromolecules.