Sustainable Material development
The challenge to make the industrial, commercial and built environment more sustainable has never been so complex. We may be in some doubt around the reasons for climate change per se, but we are in no doubt about plastic ending up in our oceans, some 9 million tones per annum with more than 40% of the volume being used just once. The material is important to us keeping us alive through beating hearts and in the air with lightweight, high strength polymers but overall we now have to deal with a mere 9.2 billion tonnes of the stuff across the globe.
The largest market today for plastics, is the packaging industry with around 161 million tonnes produced in the last 6 months alone. Despite the levels of recycling as experienced in waste transfer stations, we know that there is still some confusion over what the recycling market can accept and how the packing is identified and labelled.
New super materials are making a difference such as:
Graphene used for strength, wear resistance , heat and electrical transfer and a additive for “green” concrete;
Plants and seaweed for biodegradable packaging;
Living organisations such as cyanobacteria combined with circuitry made to solar panels;
Micro-lattice metals which are solid but extremely light weight; and
Brewery waste by-products made into recyclable packaging.
But could you do more……..like to reduce costs, have easier and quicker decisions on materials choice and selection, more dynamic design cycles and lower overall development costs?