New type of plastic can be recycled infinitely

Researchers at Colorado State University developed a new type of plastic that can, theoretically, be recycled infinitely.

Plastics have proven their usefulness over and over again, as the material is strong, durable and, perhaps most importantly, cheap. However, in recent years it has become clear what a disastrous effect plastic has on our environment, especially single use plastics. While most plastic is recyclable, only a small percentage actually is, and they are mainly turned into low-value products that are not recycled again.

The new plastic has the same characteristics as plastic, including strength and heat-resistance. Unlike conventional plastics, it can be turned back into molecules, the building blocks of the material. The process can be undertaken without toxic chemicals or intensive lab procedures, and thus has potential to be used industrially. Because the material can go ‘back to basic’, its value is maintained, which could reduce the demand for new plastics as well as plastic pollution.

The new technology has only been proven at lab scale, but the aim is to bring the material to the market.

Photo: Bill Cotton/Colorado State University (via Independent)