Innovation of the Week

Professor Plastic loves to share new innovations in plastics that contribute to sustainability, safety, longer lives and better performance. That's why she's been collecting her favorite plastics innovations for more than four years running.

Choose an Innovation of the Week to learn more.

  • IOTW Gas Station Truck
    Used plastics = diesel fuel? A new microwave technology turns used plastics into diesel fuel for trucks. Could plastics that aren’t getting recycled today become a source for more sustainable energy production? Learn More
  • IOTW agriculture film
    Grow food, recycle plastics, repeat … Plastics recycling grows … along with your food. A recycler in California is collecting up to 100 million pounds of plastic film used for growing crops, turning it into reusable bags. Learn More
  • IOTW Eggs Carton
    Celebrate recycled plastics! Why are these eggs so happy? Because they were nestled in a carton made with 100% recycled plastics from used beverage bottles. Recycle more plastics! Check out the video. Learn More
  • IOTW Highway Road
    Greener, leaner, stronger roads with used plastics Why did this company win Richard Branson’s Virgin Voom award? Because it relies on used plastics to make roads greener, leaner (cheaper) and stronger (longer lasting), says company. Learn More
  • IOTW Flats
    Flats made with recycled plastic bottles Vogue calls these flats “the most environmentally friendly shoes on the planet.” And “the cutest.” They’re 3-D knit with fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles—and recyclable. Learn More
  • Three sponges
    A new way to soak up oil spills? Researchers have developed a plastic sponge that can soak up oil spills … then release the oil for use. The sponge can be reused multiple times and improves on existing cleanup methods. Learn More
  • iotw-shoe
    Scan + code + print = new kicks San Diego company 3-D prints custom fit shoes, including size 28 for a young man with cerebral gigantism – using cushy, stretchy plastics/rubber. Company even recycles your old shoes. Learn More
  • Print me a pair of sunglasses Perfect fit? Now sunglasses can be custom fit based on a scan of your head, 3-D printing, and tough nylon and polycarbonate plastics. Plus they weigh as little as 5 gummy bears. Learn More
  • Plastics don’t belong in the ocean Keep our oceans clean! Companies help reduce marine litter by using plastics collected from our oceans. Norton Point’s recycled plastic sunglasses could make you look good & feel good. Learn More
  • No need for air conditioning? February 17, 2017- This is pretty cool. Researchers have created an inexpensive plastic film that can cool buildings without the use of air conditioning or a power source. Learn More
  • A cheerful young woman sitting on the airplane thanks an air stewardess for a blanket.
    Comfy, cozy recycled plastic blankets February 10, 2017- Snuggle up under... plastic bottles? A major airline uses blankets made from 100% recycled plastic bottles that are cleaned, melted, spun into thread, and woven into soft fabric. Learn More
  • A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle cruises in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean of Hawaii
    Plastics don’t belong in our oceans February 3, 2017- Fight marine litter! Companies are reducing marine litter by using plastics collected from our oceans. For example, Adidas new swimwear is made from ocean plastics & used fishing nets. Learn More
  • A variety of italian meats in plastic packaging
    Save food, save resources January 27, 2017- Fight food waste! Innovations in plastic vacuum packaging help prevent spoiled food, saving precious resources. As The Economist puts it: “Vacuum packaging helps enormously.” Learn More
  • Two fashionable women walking out of the airport with luggages and coffee cup calling a taxi
    Advanced plastic composites = more comfortable flight January 20, 2017- The end of jet lag? Modern planes made with carbon fiber-reinforced plastics allow lower cabin pressure, more humidity – designed for big improvements in passenger comfort. Learn More
  • Three wheel vehicle made with plastics
    Plastics + cars = safety January 13, 2017- Plastics absorb crash energy in our cars. This three-wheel vehicle made mostly of tough/cushioning plastics rolled 4 times after a crash. The driver and vehicle? Scratched up but fine. Learn More
  • 3D illustration of robotic and human hands connecting
    Plastic skin that can feel and heal January 6, 2017- Prosthetics that can feel? A chemical engineer at Stanford is creating plastic skin designed to help people who’ve lost limbs recover their sense of touch…and heal itself when cut. Learn More