Those donning stockings can rest a little easier knowing that the polymer behind their panty hose has gone green. The process of making a precursor to nylon, according to an article at Science News, uses ozone bubbles and ultraviolet light, eliminating traditional greenhouse gas emissions.
Nylon is typically made from adipic acid, which comes from a chemical reaction between carbon molecules and corrosive nitric acid—a reaction that results in ozone damaging nitrous oxide. Human activity produces more than 8 million metric tons of nitrous oxide each year, according to Science News, with up to 8% of that coming from nylon production. Chemists from the National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan replaced nitric acid with bubbles of ozone, O3 and ultraviolet light, a combination that forms adipic acid without beating up on the planet.