A truly recyclable next-generation plastic can be broken down to the molecular level and then reassembled without sacrificing quality.
Most plastics are not truly recyclable, as their various fillers and additives interfere with the process when the different plastics are all combined for processing. To offer a genuinely recyclable option, the team from the Berkeley Lab developed a material called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, which replaces the tightly bound molecular bonds of plastic with reversible bonds. These bonds will release when a piece of PDK is placed in acid, allowing the original monomers to be recovered for reuse while the additives are left behind.
Thumbnail image credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab - Left to right: Peter Christensen, Kathryn Loeffler, and Brett Helms.
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