A new catalyst may make the production of plastic more environmentally friendly.
Plastic waste and the damage it does to the environment is a major concern as we produce almost 300 million tons of plastic each year and 8 million of it ends up in the ocean. On top of that, it should come as no surprise that the production of plastic also has a significant impact on the environment.
Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM), is a volatile, dangerous and toxic catalyst used in the production of plastic to speed up the process. So finding a more environmentally friendly solution might be a step in the right direction while we figure out how to deal with the remaining waste.
While it may not be the solution we had hoped for, researchers found a new catalyst called Gold-on-Carbon Catalyst which could work as a substitute to VCM. How it works is still unclear, as researchers from China, the UK and the US work out its potential without a loss in performance. As the world is still undeniably dependent on plastic and a suitable substitute has yet to be found, cutting emissions where we can is perhaps our best option.