Development of Recyclable Plastic


A report in Nature Chemistry* describes the synthesis of a new vitrimer plastic with the ability to degrade, representing a possible solution to the problem of persistence of current plastics in the environment. It is estimated that only ten percent of U.S. plastic material is recycled with remainder destined for landfills or waterways.  The new plastic incorporates dynamic covalent diketone amine allowing plastic to be degraded to constituent parts in the presence of an acid.  The new plastic can be recycled from the degraded acid slurry for reuse. It is possible to separate the new plastic from conventional waste in recycling facilities.


The economic feasibility of the new plastic material is not known and there is no timetable for extension from the laboratory to commercial application for either packaging or products.


*Environment doi:10.1126/science.aax7790