Post by Roger Clifton on Feb 17, 2018 14:44:42 GMT 9.5
The author of the article appears to be appealing to the current sentiment that all plastic waste should be vanished into landfill, buried under a layer of topsoil.
Traditionally we have made our wastes vanish by dumping them in the air, sea and soil. As an alternative, the ecomodernists argue that all wastes should be recycled. That still does not account for the plastics and glass that escape collection.
One solution would be to convert all plastic usage to biodegradable chemistry. For example, plastics based on the monomer HCOH are in varying degrees biodegradable: eg, starch, cellulose, lignin. We are already familiar with rayon and cellophane, which come from that family, and do decay.
However the same author could instead be asking for research into putting a timer into the plastics. Shopping bags to last for a few days in the presence of moisture before becoming edible to cockroaches, fishing nets to retain their strength for 10 years and then collapse into slime, electrical insulation to last for 100 years before turning into conductive termite fodder. Building materials to retain their physical properties for 1000 years. Microplastics might be designed to dissolve in animals' digestion acids without waiting for a timer to go off.