But plastic is everywhere.
A cheap petroleum product, plastic finds it way into everything from clothing to computers to artificial limbs. Plastic can be lightweight, sturdy and durable - and that's the problem.
Lightweight bags blow into trees and oceans, where they suffocate wildlife. Plastic doesn't break down easily in landfills, and Americans discard 50 million to 80 million plastic bags each year.
However, plastic is too versatile to discard completely. Scientists are developing biodegradable plastics that don't require fossil fuels. But until eco-friendly plastics become widely available, Americans need to find better ways to reuse their plastic.
Today, recycled plastic mostly ends up in non-recyclable secondary products, like textiles or plastic lumber. Americans can cut down use by reusing plastic containers. But to reduce the plastics entering landfills, scientists need to create long-lasting products that use recycled plastics.
One Hungarian technology company, Power of the Dream Ventures, Inc., has created two products that use recycled plastics in innovative ways.
Turbocrete allows every waste material but metal - plastic, glass, organic and inorganic compounds - to be mixed into concrete. Turbocrete hardens and behaves like conventional concrete. Should builders use this technology, the trash currently entering landfills could help construct schools and roads.
The company has also developed a way to fill potholes with plastic granules. Filling potholes usually requires special equipment -- but the plastic granules would only need to be heated on location, saving energy and fuel costs. The plastic completely fills and waterproofs potholes.
For more information, visit www.powerofthedream.com. Power of the Dream trades under the symbol PWRV on the OTCBB exchange.