On several occasions, we have heard of oil spills that have an adverse effect on the ecology of the ocean. One such hazard was the Deepwater Horizon explosion which led to a massive offshore oil spill. Following this tragedy, the need for a good sorbent for oil spills was felt. Raw, unprocessed cotton emerged a winner in this field due to its eco-friendly nature and its ability to absorb high amounts of oil.

Cotton Works Well as an Oil Spill Sorbent

The most recent chapter in the ACS' or American Chemical Society's Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series tells us that raw cotton is not only capable of soaking up a large amount of oil but is also an eco-friendly solution for the same.

In a report based on studies by Seshadri Ramkumar, the need for a widely available, low-cost sorbent for oil spills was imperatively felt, following the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. He also mentions that the sorbent needed to be eco-friendly and sustainable in order to ensure that it did not have a negative impact on the environment.

Ramkumar and his team chose to study low micronaire cotton – a variety of untreated cotton, with a low commercial value. According to their report, a pound of unprocessed cotton had the capacity to absorb over 30 pounds of crude oil. So, cotton was a more suitable alternative to synthetic fibers such as wool and barley straw. Another reason for cotton being a good option for soaking up spilled oil was the fact that it is an eco-friendly alternative.

Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions speak about some of the most frightening issues of the 21st century and the positive impact that advanced research in Chemistry has on them. Global Challenges provides an insight into the solutions to problems that people around the world are facing. Some of these problems are the improvement of human life through the provision of sufficient supplies of pure water and safe food, preservation of the environment, and the introduction to a substitute for petroleum to fuel the needs of society.

Using Eco-Friendly Promotional Items for a Greener Planet Without Oil Spills

Instead of using items that have a negative impact on the environment it is better to use eco-friendly promotional items. One of the easiest ways of doing so, in day-to-day life, is by switching over to reusable bags instead of plastic bags and single-use disposable bags. Segregating waste properly so that recyclable items can be diverted from landfills to recycling centers will also be beneficial.

In the case of tragedies such as oil spills, opting for unprocessed cotton instead of synthetic fibers will help. It will help in quick absorption of oil with a smaller amount of raw material as well as through an eco-friendly option.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/acs-acs073013.php