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Plastic That’s Fully Recyclable & Can Be Restored Infinitely Is Now A Thing
By Mikelle Leow, 09 May 2019
Image via Shutterstock
Earth can no longer bottle its vulnerability towards harmful catalysts. This has driven brands, consumers and inventors to fervently explore options that are friendlier to the planet.
People’s everyday reliance on plastics makes it difficult for them to switch to more sustainable materials. Thankfully, scientists from Berkeley Lab think they have a solution. They’ve developed a new kind of plastic that, when broken down, can be refashioned without affecting its quality or durability.
“Most plastics were never made to be recycled,” explains Peter Christensen, a postdoctoral researcher from Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry and the lead author of a new study detailing the reimagined plastic. Instead, they’re usually fortified with chemicals that make them hardier and more flexible, and are rarely broken down in full even when processed at recycling plants.
The new plastic, called polydiketoenamine (PDK), is not only more eco-friendly, but also makes recycling much easier. All you’ll have to do is introduce some acid to the compound for it to be reduced at the molecular level.
Interestingly, this step can be reversed, and PDK can be built back up without compromising its quality.
At present, PDK isn’t ready for the masses, as the researchers are experimenting with other plant-based materials to go into the breakthrough plastic. They hope that the substance would be able to replace even non-recyclable plastics like those used in phone cases or shoes in future.
[via Earther, cover image via Shutterstock]
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