In general household recycling, plastics seem to be the most pesky material to make it into the recycling bin. That may be changing soon. Up until now, several types of plastics have been limited to “second-generation use,” meaning that the quality of the product is significantly reduced beyond a single recycling process. Scientists from Stanford University and IBM have recently announced in the American Chemical Society journal a technology that “reverses the polymerization process” in plastics. But, what does that mean? It could result in a significant new recycling process for PET, resulting in far less waste and pollution. IBM Fellow Josephine Cheng thinks they can take it a step even further: “The development of organic catalysts brings more versatility to green chemistry and opens the door for novel applications, such as making biodegradable plastics and improving the recycling process,” he says. 1-800-RECYCLING will feature more on this technology as it becomes available.
A Plastics Recycling Breakthrough
Stanford University and IBM have announced a new technology that could change plastics recycling forever.