A team from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has a solution created so as to develop recyclable plastic and also which can later be disintegrated into its ingredient parts at the molecular level. The disassembled parts can later be again reassembled into a varying shape, color, and texture repeatedly without any failure in performance or quality. The plastics were never made thinking about recycling. According to Peter Christensen at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, the way could help make some path for assembling plastics that can be recycled keeping the molecular perspective in mind.
Polymers are what plastics are made up of today. The larger polymers are made from shorter constituents named monomers. The polymers when adulterated with additives make it practical for further applications. The additives help change color, texture, and flexibility of the polymer used to form plastics. The recycling plastic plants tend to break down the waste plastic into bits and then collect the chopped bits for melting and later making new materials. The slightest alterations in the properties compared to the original are difficult to predict. The plastics upcycling and circular plastics are the major tough hurdles to pass through. The aquatic ecosystems are proof of the damage the plastic has been doing for a couple of years. With the increasing plastic manufacturing, there is a lot of pressure laid on the shoulders of the municipal recycling infrastructure
The researchers invented polydiketoenamine or PDK keeping the recyclability concept in mind. The bonds in the new plastics are reversible bonds that permit recycling. The recyclable plastic is a potential alternative to many nonrecyclable plastics in today’s era. The recycling facilities in the future need to consider sorting and processing of waste as a critical point. For now, the researchers are also planning to add in thermal, mechanical, foam, texture, and 3D printing properties to the PDK plastics so as help divert plastic from landfills and the oceans. The decade-old plastic issue can now be solved using the current study.