Latest News 2021-05-12
There is one man-made material that you can find in the earth, the air and in the deepest ocean trenches. It is so durable that the majority of what has been created is still present in our ecosystem. Having made its way into the food chain, it permeates our bodies, flowing from our blood into our organs, even finding its way into the human placenta.
It is of course plastic, and this durability is also what makes the material so useful. Cables stretching across ocean floors, water pipes under the ground and packaging that keeps food fresh all rely on this property.
Efficiently recycling plastic by conventional means is notoriously difficult, and only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled into new plastics. But what if there was a way to turn plastic back into the stuff it was made from? The "next grand challenge" for polymer chemistry – the field responsible for the creation of plastics – is learning to undo the process by turning plastics back into oil.
Source: BBC Future (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210510-how-to-recycle-any-plastic)