EVER since its invention by Leo Baekeland in 1907, plastic has transformed our world in countless ways.
We find plastics in our clothes, our homes and our vehicles. Our food comes safely and hygienically wrapped in plastics. The toys we play with, the televisions we watch, the computers we use and the DVDs we watch all contain plastics.
Plastics may be cheap, convenient and super-useful, but this miracle material has turned out, after just over a hundred years, to be a double-edged sword. What was a miracle for us is a disaster for the environment.
Every year nearly 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean, causing untold harm to marine life and irreparably damaging marine ecosystems. Marine animals generally mistake floating plastic debris for food and consume it, to die a painful death.
While some say it is too late to do anything, as the damage is already irreversible, others are more optimistic, saying that by employing proper recycling methods we will be able to halt any further damage, at the very least.
Although plastic recycling methods presently exist, they are complicated and inefficient, for a number of reasons.
Listen to Bilal and Maseeh’s discussion on how IBM researchers are changing this by developing a radical new technology which will greatly simplify the recycling process within the next five years.