The XXI century will certainly pass under the motto of "recycling and reuse" of everything and everything, otherwise humanity runs the risk of quickly drowning the planet in garbage. What heights can be achieved following this concept is shown by a new development of an international team of scientists who demonstrated how one garbage can be used to collect and dispose of another.
This is a polymer that will form the basis of a new sorbent for collecting spilled oil products. The polymer consists of the following components: waste cooking oil, sodium chloride and sulfur. The first is easy to find in the kitchen of any fast food, the second is ordinary salt, and there is an abundance of orphan sulfur in hydrogen sulfide, which is considered a by-product of the extraction of oil itself.
Since oil and sulfur are hydrophobic, the polysulfide polymer based on them effectively repels water molecules. And if a mixture of water and hydrocarbons spilled in it is passed through such a material, it will be divided into components - a kind of filtration will occur. It remains only to give the polymer the shape of a porous sponge, which will absorb the spilled liquid, giving out relatively pure water.
An alternative way of using the sorbent is in the form of granules, which can be scattered from the air, neutralizing large areas of oil spills. The polymer does not yet have its own name, but a new class of sorbents can be created on its basis. Cheap, effective, and helping to bring the issue of recycling and disposal of waste from various industries to a qualitatively new level. Exactly what the world needs.