Dr. Brett Helms. who heads up a team of scientists, has announced that he has discovered a way of making scrap plastic indefinitely re- recyclable able.
Plastic material can be recycled, but because its quality degrades during the recycling process, even the stuff that makes it as far as a recycling plant (which is a small fraction of the total) can only be reused once or twice, producing a progressively inferior product before ending up in a landfill or incinerators.
Now, though, scientists say that polydiketoenaminet can be recycled over and over again, with no loss of quality. Like all plastics, PDKD is composed of polymers: stringy molecules made up of repeating, carbon-containing compounds called monomers.
For a plastic to be recycled, it must be broken down into its component monomers. But there are usually problems: the bonds are too strong to separate the monomers; and chemicals added to the plastic to make it transparent, or tough, cling to them and contaminate the process. The new material can be broken down to a molecular level and separated from chemical additives by simply immersing it in an acid bath for 12 hours. Like Lego blocks, the monomers can then be reassembled to make good-as-new plastic in any colour, shape or form. (The Week 25 May 2019).
Another reason, among many, to praise science, not to trash it as so many conservatives do these days. By the way, if commercially successful, it would be a big blow to the petro-chemical industry.iu