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By Sean Turvey
Driving down highways, you will see a lot of litter. Much of it is fast food packaging or other disposable paper. Education does not seem to be the answer, as we have been told not to litter for years - yet, it still piles up. More meals are being eaten on the road or sidewalk, as our lives become faster. What I believe we need is a paper that degrades quickly when exposed to the sun's UV rays.

It would seem that the addition of titanium dioxide in its anatase form to the pulp would break down the organic compounds into a powder. The speed of the degradation would probably be controlled by the amount of TiO2 added. To keep the photocatalyst reaction from starting too soon, the items would have to be kept out of direct sunlight.

It would not have to be a full breakdown of the item, just enough to produce tiny holes, as paper seems to degrade from the edges of the piece to the centre. This basic idea is being used to make self cleaning windows and buildings.


- Take out food packaging
- Bus or event tickets
- Flyers & pamphlets
- Disposable diapers
- ATM receipts
- Cigarette butts & packages
- Women's hygene products
- Condoms
By karmab
I know they are working on this for plastic grocery bags.

Doesn't paper break down relatively quickly? they also can make paper out of edible stuff, ie rice. Whole Foods uses Rice cardboard for it's hot food take out. You can eat the packaging as well as the contents, not that you'd want to, but you could. Also, you can throw it into your compost if you want to and recycle it that way.

On a side note, there may be no way to get women to use "feminine hygeine" products that have been engineered to break down quickly. thanks anyway.
By Sean Turvey
If you go to a dump you can dind newspapers going back to the 1800s. Paper will degrade quickly under the right conditions however certain products such as disposable food cartons have a nasty habit of staying around as they are coated with plastic (no longer plastic). The TiO2 would use the sun's light to introduce small holes in the plastic and paper so water, microbes, etc. can do their job quicker.

karmab wrote:On a side note, there may be no way to get women to use "feminine hygeine" products that have been engineered to break down quickly. thanks anyway.

Because TiO2 is a photocatalyst nothing will happen until prolonged exposure to UV light (the sun). The length of exposure would be determined by the amount used and of course the strength of the sun. Women would have no reason to worry as the packaging would block the UV/
By karmab
I agree that there's a need. Lots of things should break down quickly, or not be used for such short life spans at all.

I didn't know that about paper lasting so long.
You seem to know a lot about this. Hats off.

I still don't know about the hygiene thing. It can be a pretty delicate issue.
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