Is it possibly to recycle plastic infinitely?
Nowadays, only 9% of the plastic ever made has been made into new plastics.
The next grand challenge for polymer chemistry is learning to undo the process by turning plastics back into oil, turn the plastic, into crude oil and the other components. This process, known as chemical recycling, make the manufacturing of plastics cheaper than recycling existing plastic. By doing this, we could partially say that humans have reached the «Recycle Plastic Infinitely»goal. The common recycling process partially breaks the polymer chains, so the plastic can’t be recycled many times. This new process breaks the polymer chain back into chemical building blocks, making possible do and undo plastics without limit. World’s first company to reach this depolymerization process was INEOS from USA.
Introducing the alternative Cat-HTR.
Another try to recycle plastic infinitely, is Cat-HTR, the catalytic hydrothermal reactor platform developed by Professor Maschmeyer at Licella, company that created by himself and now expert in plastic sustainability by using “power of water”. As the company description says, Cat-HTR uses water at high pressure and high temperature. The platform is capable to break plastic into little useful components, transforming it into different shapes:
- Solids, like industrial waxes for the food and coatings industry.
- Heavy liquids, like oil/greases for lubrication purposes.
- Light liquids, like solvents and fuels such as diesel or petrol.
- Reactive gasses, like ethylene, which can be used to make new plastics.
The destruction process takes 20 minutes of low greenhouse emissions and low energy consumption. Although it is not infinite plastic recycling, is one of the best considered ways to handle all the plastic waste and can be used at the same time as other plastic recycling methods using only those that cannot be recycled anymore.
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