At the time of first use of plastic approximately 70 years ago, the implications of their lifespan not given much heed, and that it would take centuries for them to decompose. Now, that the types of plastics have diversified, and are easier to manufacture, our planet is now struggling with 8.3 billion tons of it. In fact, plastic is less costly and easier to produce and discard than it is to recycle.
For a pronounced change, researchers at the University of California are poised to shift this decades old practice. How? With the use of one-pot, low-temperature catalytic technique that reuses polyethylene into high value alkylaromatic molecules – the basis of a large number of industrial chemicals and consumer products. Meanwhile, polyethylene is a polymer found in about a third of plastics produced, valued at about US$ 200 billion annually. Thus, adding value to what would otherwise become waste could make plastic recycling more attractive and a practical initiative with an environmentally beneficial outcome.
Effort aims to transform Plastic Economy into Sustainable
The research team presents a potential solution to the problem, which is published in the journal Science. The effort, is one in an expanding list of possible measures that can turn the wasteful economy of plastic into a more sustainable, circular one.
“The study is a demonstration of how plastic can be converted into something useful,” said one of the researchers.
Meanwhile, modern existence is considerably owed to plastics has no denying. The plastic packaging that keeps food fresh to sterile materials used in medical applications to cheap, lightweight components that make many of our consumer goods affordable, and durable.
And, there are several positive aspects of plastics that need to be kept in view, the researcher further added.