Polymer waste products form an industrial problem how we deal with them on a technical level, and a social problemóhow societies deal with the problem of polymer wastes. Polymers symbolize the dilemmas of a highly industrialized society: we can't live without them, but at the same time they cause environmental problems we cannot deal with. To fully understand the problems and the issues, we need to approach the subject from a number of angles. And while these sounds like a logical thing to do, it has not yet been done.
Researchers of the Polymer Products and Waste Management multidisciplinary research programme at the University of Twente have undertaken the task., with fascinating results.
There are seven projects in the Polymer Products and Waste Management programme.Three address chemical/technical problems:
1. ecycling polymer wastes using high temperature pyrolysis;
2. creating biodegradeable polymers; and
3. recycling a combination of waste products to create new plastics.
A further three projects concentrate on the social aspects:
1. the investment potential of polymer waste technology;
2. research into how society experiences and accepts present levels of environmental risk; and
3. the feasibility of waste management policy.
The seventh project is an environmental-philosophical analysis of the polymer waste problem.