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Waste Carton Works to Fight Against Environmental Pollution, Opening Eyes to Its Cyclic Utilization

May 16, 2018     Email"> PrintText Size

Researchers were surprised to find that waste carton could play a role in fighting against environmental pollution by removing hexavalent Chromium, one kind of heavy metal.

In modern times, the rapid development of industries brought serious heavy metal pollution such as chromium, resulting in severe harms for ecosystem and health of human beings.

Scientists have been trying to find some highly efficient but low cost way to get these problems settled.

In a recent study, Chinese scientists were surprised to realize the dream by cyclic utilization of waste carton.

"Considering environmental problems, we manage to use waste carton derived nanocomposite to remove hexavalent chromium", said WU Zhengyan, a scientist from Institute of Technical Biology and Agriculture Engineering, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, who led the study.

In their study, waste carton was used as precursor to prepare uniformly micron-sized spherical carbon (SC).

Afterward, zero-valent iron (ZVI) nanoparticles could be easily loaded on the surface of SC to form a new nanocomposite (named as SCZ). SCZ could efficiently remove Cr(VI) in water through adsorption and reduction.

After Cr(VI) treatment, the resulting SCZ-Cr could be removed conveniently from water using a magnet.

In addition to the efficient removing of heavy metal, the study also opens eyes to waste carton and its cyclic utilization.

With the fast development of modern logistic industry, a large quantity of cartons made from wood are produced and widely used for packaging. After being used, most of them are discarded, contributing to 40-45% of municipal solid waste, which not only cause a great consumption of wood resource, but also bring about serious environmental pollution.

This way to remove heavy metal by using waste carton also could be expected as a facile approach to promote recycling of waste carton and reduce environmental pollution.

This research was supported by the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Science and Technology Service Programs of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Science and Technology Major Project of Anhui Province, and the Environmental Protection Project of Anhui Province.


Schematic illustration of mechanism (Image by HAN Jie) 


(Editor: ZHANG Nannan)

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