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Designer materials to keep plastic out of landfills

Des matériaux conçus pour remplacer le plastique et limiter la production de déchets

 — 20 juillet 2022
Scientists have designed a new material system to overcome one of the biggest challenges in recycling consumer products: mixed-plastic recycling. Their achievement will help enable a much broader range of fully recyclable plastic products and brings into reach to an efficient circular economy for durable goods like automobiles.

We generate staggering quantities of and plastic-containing products each year, but only a tiny fraction of that plastic can be recovered and used to manufacture products of similar quality. That’s because most products, from food-packaging films and single-use bags to sneakers and electronics, are made from mixtures of different plastics, and once they are mixed, those plastics can’t be recovered and used to make new bags or sneakers. Instead, most of it ends up in landfills, incinerators, or oceans.

A team of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are tackling the mixed-plastic challenge using a custom-designed material called polydiketoenamine (PDK), a new type of plastic they developed to be recycled efficiently and indefinitely, providing a low-carbon manufacturing solution for plastic products that never have to end up in a landfill.


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