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Creating a Better Plastic

By Xi Peng posted 17-02-2022 11:41


The United States generates more plastic trash than any other country – about 46.3 million tons of it, or 287 pounds per person a year, according to a 2020 study. The country’s 9% rate of recycling will never keep up. Why so low? The chemistry of today’s plastics makes most difficult to recycle. Even thermoplastics that can be melted down weaken with each re-use. And that leads to the real barrier to recycling – economics. There’s just no profit incentive. But now a group of chemists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have turned the tables by discovering a method to break down plastics to create a new material that is stronger and tougher than the original – meaning it’s potentially more valuable. Read more here.