We are finally beginning to realize the tragic extent of the damage we have caused our planet. We are aware of the myriad daily opportunities we have to help or hinder the planet and most people are aware of the most effective and useful paths of action we can take to help secure a brighter future for us and our planet. We have been made aware of all the unfortunately familiar faux pas we have been engaging in such as excessive meat consumption, traditional damaging energy sources, covering every possible food in plastic packaging, using plastic bags and plastic nano-beads in washing products, to mention but a few and we are collectively beginning some scale of abstinence or substitution of one or all of these things. One idea, however, that we haven’t been focusing on so much is the concept of redesigning plastic.
As it stands, companies are still producing the very same plastic that is filling up our land and oceans and even finding its way back to us in tiny particles in the fish we eat, who have consumed our plastic waste. What if there was a way to continue to use plastic in the same way but swap the traditional harmful plastic for one which can biodegrade and yet function in the same ways we’ve used traditional plastic for? One way to achieve this is to use nano-sized particles in the production of ‘plastic’, such as PLA (PolyLacticAcid) which promotes materials to biodegrade and is sourced naturally from corn cobs. These products can degrade fully and naturally after use and mirror the durability flexibility of traditional plastic.
Nanotechnology has infinite possibilities for its application as a result of the malleable nature of Silica nanoparticles upon formation. This means that once a set of nano-particles have been developed, their characteristics can be modified, making them useful in various industries for numerous functions. For example, nanotechnology has been employed in the use and development of solar photovoltaics for over two decades, this being an exponentially growing industry which has long been known to be in aid of improving and preserving our planet.
Another industry which uses nanotechnology is the 3D printing world; imagine if such machines began to replace some of the less energy-efficient models: how much energy could be saved then? Or the paint/coatings/resins industries; with nanotechnology improving the composition, durability and longevity of these products, there will be less waste of said products and less need for resurfacing meaning less chemical production, etc. Whichever way you turn, there is a use and application for nanotechnology which supports and promotes the health of the planet. The world is changing and we need to evolve with it, to save it.