Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Consumer-Linked Carbon Capture and Storage

Subtle tweaks to the chemistry of everyday objects to lock away carbon
  [vote for,

Now that we have a comprehensive understanding of the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, geology, biology and the interactions thereof, many are now confident that carbon is bad. There have been numerous proposals to sequester atmospheric CO2 and store it long term, but the processes lack efficiency and the scale required is daunting.

The clever thing to do is get hold of the carbon when it is more concentrated. Since the atmosphere is 0.0% CO2, it's a poor source. Some improvement could be had by tapping into power stations etc, but this is still patchy and cumbersome.

Currently, consumer packaging and disposable items such as carrier bags are made of plastics that contain impurities such as cobalt and manganese that promote the degradation of the plastic by sunlight & oxygen. Alternatively, plastics such as polylactic acid (pla) are oxidized to CO2 by diverse environmental microbes. I don't need to mention just how bad paper products are in the same regard.

As a solution, I propose that disposable consumer items be made of plastics designed not to degrade. This might sound difficult, but several strategies present themselves. Carefully omitting the cobalt and manganese will enhance the lifespan of existing plastics notably. The banning of pla will improve things further. Consumer outlets could offer much thicker bags that lock up 2-4 fold more carbon than current designs. The use of marketing could even convince consumers that they're getting a "good, stout bag that won't tear even if you're carrying two oranges!". The thickness may even come to be synonymous with quality, hold-out retailers could be shamed about their "thin, flimsy & cheap" bags.

Eventually, significant carbon will be safely locked away in a form more recalcitrant and intractable than the source crude oil could hope to be. Furthermore, instead of concentrated and tempting billion-barrel lakes that require minimal effort to extract, the plastics will be widely distributed in landfills, drawers and the occasional ditch. Totally uneconomical to extract. As a side benefit, the bags might have some staying power and not crumble into pieces in your backpack.

bs0u0155, Apr 19 2019

Biodegradable Bags https://www.theguar...deable-plastic-bags
[bs0u0155, Apr 19 2019]

Carbon Fixed House Carbon_20fixed_20house
[Voice, Apr 26 2019]


       Hmmm. You know, [bs], this is not such a stupid idea.   

       World plastic production is currently about 0.3GT/yr, and CO2 emissions are about 10GT/ry. A simple 30-fold increase in plastic production would pretty much solve the whole problem.   

       However, we could do better. People die at the rate of about 50 million per year, or about 5MT/yr. Maybe 20% of this is carbon. If we just froze people (or plastinated them - even more carbon up-lock), we'd add a bit of CO2 sequestration. Add in grass cuttings, pets and the left-over bits of livestock and we'd make a real dent.   

       Taking this further, there is a lot to be said for plastinating all plants and animals as a matter of course, leaving enough alive to repopulate and capture more carbon.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 19 2019


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