Why are catalytic converters becoming an endangered species? Because they contain three valuable metals - platinum, palladium, and rhodium - making them worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars, stolen or not. It's the rhodium thieves are after. It's very rare, very expensive and has some strange properties. Could there be a better time for a Dreaded Chemistry Lesson from Hell? I think not.
Plastic waste is a worldwide environmental problem. So is the generation of clean energy. Two British groups have come up with a method that, at least in the lab, can degrade plastic and simultaneously generate hydrogen. Light is used as an inexpensive catalyst. That's some very interesting chemistry.