Almost 80% of plastic waste ends up in landfills or the environment. Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a technology that can turn plastic waste, even if it is not normally recyclable, into useful chemicals. This is a new way to fight against global plastic waste.
The technology was invented by Tomonori Saito and Md Arifuzzaman. It uses a special organocatalyst that can break down different types of plastic, including a mixture of different consumer plastics. Arifuzzaman, who now works at Re-Du, was a postdoctoral researcher at ORNL and is currently an Innovation Crossroads fellow.
Producing chemicals from plastic waste uses less energy and produces fewer greenhouse gases compared to making chemicals from petroleum. This is an important step towards a more sustainable society. Saito, the lead author of the study published in Materials Horizons, said that this technology offers an efficient and low-carbon way to recycle plastics and could help create a closed-loop system for plastic.
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