Earlier this week, IBM researchers announced a discovery that could lead to plastics made from plants instead of petroleum. The new plastics will be more energy efficient, more versatile, and infinitely recyclable (until we move to our space colony).

The discovery was made at IBM's Almaden Research Center in Northern California in cooperation with scientists at Stanford University. IBM's press release, hitting just about every eco-friendly buzzword there is, makes it sound like a pretty big deal:

This discovery and new approach using organic catalysts could lead to well-defined, biodegradable molecules made from renewable resources in an environmentally responsible way.


Okayyyy, but what's all that mean? Basically, the scientists figured out how to make new, organic plastics that can be sustainably produced and function with greater versatility.

Bonus: the same discoveries will also allow us to recycle our current plastics—the kind used for bottled water and just about everything else—more than once, hopefully relieving future Wall-E's from having to crunch all of our petroleum-plastic junk into cubes for the rest of eternity. [Yahoo]

Image credit The Bartender 007