New Plastics Come Out, Can Be Recycled Indefinitely?

New Plastics Come Out, Can Be Recycled Indefinitely?

Sep 24, 2020

As the use of plastic increases, a large amount of waste is also generated. Plastics have become a huge source of global pollution. According to surveys, plastics can be found almost anywhere on the surface of the earth, even at the bottom of the deepest ocean, and the farthest Antarctic and Arctic. Plastics have caused great harm to the marine environment and marine life.

When we used it, we praised it for its "lightweight and durable", and we also complained that it was "difficult to degrade" after we abandoned it. If discarded at will, plastic garbage will pile up more and more, and the ecological environment cannot be treated in time, which will cause environmental pollution artificially. Ever since, plastic has become "white pollution". It is understood that the world produces more than 300 million tons of plastic each year, only a small part is recycled, and the rest is dumped into landfills, incinerated or exposed to the environment.

So, why is plastic recycling so difficult?

We all know that once plastics are used in the mission and thrown into nature, the subsequent processing costs are not the same as wood and metal, which are easily degradable materials. The cost is relatively low or even close to zero. An important reason for so little recycled plastic is that it is difficult to decompose, and the process of transforming old plastic will weaken its chemical structure. Therefore, often recycled plastic can only be used to make low-value products, such as outdoor benches and trash cans. When the gap between input costs and benefits is too large, the progress will naturally be pulled far away.

However, with the establishment of environmental protection awareness in recent years, more and more people have begun to realize the importance of plastic recycling and invest in it. In order to solve the rare problem of plastic decomposition, Eugene Chen of Colorado State University and his colleagues conducted an innovative study. Relevant documents were published on "Science Advances" on August 19, and the data showed that a new type of plastic came out, which can maintain the original quality when recycled, they can be easily decomposed and recombined into high-quality products, which can Reduce plastic waste that ends up in landfills.

The material is called PBTL and consists of a chemical substance called bicyclic thiolactone. Researchers said that PBTL has excellent strength, toughness and stability, which means it can be used to make plastic packaging bag, sports equipment, auto parts, building materials and other products. The researchers further experiments proved that PBTL can be repeatedly created, decomposed and created. This is good news for the entire industry.

Studies have shown that when a chemical catalyst is added, PBTL can be easily recycled by heating it to 100°C for 24 hours. This process can cleanly decompose the plastic into its original structure, which can then be reassembled into a new one. High-quality PBTL. Moreover, researchers believe that this process can be repeated indefinitely.

However, the recycling of PBTL also faces a problem, that is, PBTL can only be decomposed and transformed when it exists alone, which still poses a challenge to collection, sorting and transportation costs. Chen said this means that PBTL needs to be separated from other types of plastic in the mixed plastic waste before recycling.

(Source: Plastic Machinery Net)

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