Just close your eyes and picturise the amount of waste we humans are spewing out every moment. Take plastic bags for instance: 1 trillion bags are produced every year and 3.5 tonnes by weight are discarded every year! It takes around 1000 years for a bag to degrade! Obviously, every one of them we have made is still around!
E-waste is another growing class of waste. Around 50 million tones are discarded every year. This could go up by 500 percent in another decade, says the UNEP! Recycling is one way out but complete recycling is still a distant hope.
Hopefully, research is on to tackle this problem. A team of U.S. scientists at University of Illinios says it has developed a class of biodegradable electronics technology that could be utilized for a wide range of products — from consumer devices to medical implants — and that ultimately would dissolve completely, leaving no environmental impacts.
The technology has been used experimentally to make transistors, diodes, temperature sensors, and solar cells that degrade completely in even tiny amounts of water, the researchers say. The devices are encapsulated in silk, enabling manufacturers to alter the rate of dissolution based on the structure of the silk used. According to John Rogers, leader of the research team, the technology could be used for a myriad of electronic devices that end up in landfills; for environmental monitoring equipment, such as sensors used in oil spills; and for medical implants needed for short-term diagnostic or therapeutic functions.
That still leaves us with all the plastic…