English scientists a Birmingham seem to have solved a major problem contributing to the current pollution crisis.
SV & CU Scientists watching plastic manufacture process (3 shots)
CU Scientist adding special dye to plastic
SV Dye placed into machine
SV & CU plastic undergoing tests in exposure cabinet (3 shots)
SCU & CU self destructive plastic being manufactured (3 shots)
CU Samples of plastic showing self destructive process after 3 and 12 months
Initials AH/TB/ES.11.09 AH/TB/PS/1137
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Background: English scientists a Birmingham seem to have solved a major problem contributing to the current pollution crisis. They have developed a new form of plastic which destroys itself -- instead of lying around as a virtually indestructible form of litter.
Special dyes are added to the plastic during the manufacturing process. They dyes cause the normally rugged plastic to disintegrate into a powder when exposed to the ultra-violet rays of the sun.
At Birmingham, the experimental plastic is currently being tested in ultra-violet exposure cabinets which simulate outdoor conditions. The first field tests are scheduled for next summer.
The cabinet tests have been encouraging. After three months the plastic has started to fragment. After a year, it has been reduced to a powder. Scientists hope that this powder will eventually be eaten by bacteria thus destroying the plastic completely.
Dyes used in the current experiments destroy the two main plastics used in the manufacture of domestic containers and wrappings. If all goes well with the field tests, self-destructive plastic could be on the market in a year or two -- and a major litter problem could be solved.