Used plastic shopping bags can be converted into petroleum products that serve a multitude of purposes (Image: Julie McMahon)
From plastic bags, the team produced equivalents of (from left to right, in vials) gasoline, diesel #1, diesel #2 and vacuum gas oil (Photo: L. Brian Stauffer)
Brajendra Kumar Sharma, center, with research chemist Dheeptha Murali, left, and process chemist Jennifer Deluhery, converted plastic shopping bags into diesel fuel (Photo by L. Brian Stauffer)
Despite efforts to limit their use through implementation of charges or bans, billions of plastic bags continue to clog landfills, waterways and the world's oceans every year. Already a potential source for carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes, researchers have provided another reason not to throw the ubiquitous bags away by converting them into a range of petroleum products.
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