New Next-Gen Plastic Can be Re-Recycled

May 14, 2019

Plastics and their disposal are undeniably a global issue, and finding something more sustainable is what scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working on.

The research team believes they have created a state-of-the-art plastic with a unique property: it can be recycled over and over again with no loss in quality.

Peter Christensen, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, said: “Most plastics were never made to be recycled, but we have discovered a new way to assemble plastics that take recycling into consideration from a molecular perspective.”

The team discovered their new solution by using a material called polydiketoenamine (PDK). PDK can be broken down to its original components and separated, and therefore can be used to remake the same plastic, closing the material’s life cycle – no longer ending up in landfill.

PDK could have a major impact on plastic waste; as many as five to 13 tonnes of plastic flow into the oceans from coastal regions every year.

Christensen pointed out: “It’s also important that consumers demand products that are designed for recyclability.”