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why terpenes are the future of Eco-friendly plastics

July 26, 2019

Even today non-renewable sources contribute to more than 80% of the energy demands.

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Energy to propel our cars, running our businesses, even to switch a mere light bulb requires one or the other type of fossil fuels.

And we are paying an additional price by completely destroying nature. Especially, by being the primary source of-

  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Global warming

Plastics are another class of compounds that are developed using cellulose, coal, natural gas, and crude oil. 

Like the ones mentioned before, these are also non-renewable sources that are depleting at a faster rate. 

So, what’s the alternative?

How can we save our nature and its essence?

Build A Clean Future

Unlike what you think, nature has provided us with other forms of renewable resources as well.

We don’t need to lock ourselves up with those age-old resources. After all, they are doing nothing, but, building carbon footprint. 

And making it impossible for us to reverse the negative effects.

It’s Time To Switch To Innovative Strategies

For example, you can choose either medical cannabis or Hemp.

What!!!

Who knew medical cannabis could be the solution to this as well?

The most controversial plant classified as a Schedule 1 drug that has the potential to end the era of products that are destroying mother nature. 

But, how is it possible?

Because medical cannabis and hemp are a rich source of a class of compounds namely TERPENES.

They are found to be the key to producing environment-friendly plastic that is entirely biodegradable.

This is because they are the building blocks of essential oils and HCs (hydrocarbons) which is similar to most of the fossil fuels.

They are chain-like structures that can create a structures similar to polymers such as plastics. 

But,

Is this just a hypothesis?

Or is there any conclusive proof?

Yes. There is.

Research Review

A study published in the Green Chemistry revealed processes to synthesize plastics from beta-pinene and limonene. The resource of these terpenes was the waste facility turpentine/lumber and citrus producing firms. 

(Availability of terpenes as waste was nearly hundreds of thousands of tons a year.)

On processing these ingredients, the scientists were able to get polymers similar to nylon and polyester. 

So, terpenes could actually help to reduce our dependency on the non-biodegradable sources. 

The Future 

Be prepared to live a life where you might be drinking juices using a plastic cup that somehow started its life as a herb. 

Scientists are working out a number of ways to reduce the burden on fossil fuels and other non-renewable materials 

On the other hand, they are continuously working towards creating polymers that will help to reduce environmental damages. 

Because the materials will be compositable and completely harmless to the mother nature. 

Medical cannabis and hemp are such examples that can help to develop biodegradable polymers for a variety of applications. 

The Possibility of Creating Affordable Polymers 

The benefits of using hemp-based plastics are that they outweigh their petroleum-based counterparts. As they cost only .50 to .70 cents per pound. 

Which is very less as compared to 5 dollars per pound carbon-based fiberglass. 

Plus, they have the advantage of durability as well besides being biodegradable. 

A win-win situation for all.

To summarize, nature provides us with all the opportunities to design or find materials that are environment-friendly. Tremendous untapped potential is available to convert natural products into something that are highly sustainable. Who knows these might become the fuels of world’s famous cars? Or they might even become a part of aviation jet fuel blends.

Surprise. Surprise.

It’s actually happening. 

US NAVY PATENTS TERPENES AS AVIATION FUEL BLENDS”

Are you excited?

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