The Heap

The Checkered Bag


No part of the waste stream right now is riling up politicians and citizens more than plastic bags. Lab chemists may have an answer.

Scientists at the Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory have learned how to turn plastic in carbon fibers in a wide range of sizes and shapes, according to the NewScientist website. The polyethylene is mixed with a compound derived from cornstarch or sugar cane called polyactic acid, then heated and spun into bundles.

The lab said the fibers can be made into water filters and lightweight composite materials for car bodies.

So now, will the grocery checkout question become, “paper or Indy car material?”


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What's The Heap?

The Heap is a blog featuring waste industry news and analysis written by the staff of Waste360 and guest commentators.


Allan Gerlat

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the...

David Bodamer

David Bodamer is the Executive Director, Content User & Engagement for and     
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