The latest plastic substitute

Plastic is indispensable. It’s also expensive and complicated, both to make and to recycle.

So, chemists at the University of Colorado have come up with a plastic that mimics all the features we love – durability, strength, and light weight – while solving the “trash factor” that have made waste plastics a scourge of the Earth.

The team created a non-petroleum plastic that, unlike oil-based versions, can be converted back to its basic elements with a simple catalyst, and not the toxic chemicals or complex processes that most plastic recycling now demands. Those reclaimed basic elements then can be reformed back into plastic, to be used to make new products.

In theory, this new plastic could be infinitely reusable.

Just as important, this new plastic can be made at room temperature with a dash of catalyst and a few minutes reaction time. The researchers are now designing their process to industrial scale.

TRENDPOST: The world’s oceans and landfills are brimming with plastic that’s either too costly or not yet possible to recycle. The University of Colorado’s advance could stem the tide of eternal plastic waste.