One of the main problems of the world at present is plastic pollution. The solution to this important environmental problem may be in chemical recycling.
It is sunk into plastic until the world throat. To date, 8,700 million tons of plastic has been produced in the world, and 60 percent of these plastic products are no longer used. Recycled plastic also returns to landfills at some point.
At this point, the first problem we encounter is the system we use. Most of the plastics cannot be recycled in the current system. Moreover, it is not a product that can be transformed forever due to its plastic structure.
Mechanical recycling is not enough
In the traditional method used today, plastic wastes are crushed into very small pieces. Later, these pieces are processed and turn into lower level plastic products. In chemical recycling, plastic is broken down at the molecular level and the platform is turned into molecules. These molecules are then used to produce other chemicals.
Although this idea is already at a very beginner level, it offers many different alternatives for the future. At this point, it is necessary to better understand the structure of plastics. Plastics are spread across a wide scale among materials known as polymers. These structures consist of smaller polymers. Monomers are mainly composed of carbon and hydrogen. With the right techniques, plastic can be broken down to this level with the lowest level of waste.
What is necessary for the breakdown of monomers in different structures is basically energy. Since plastic is a stable material, it needs a lot of energy in the process of disintegration. It is possible to direct the process more accurately by using the right catalysts. Plastic eating bacteria give us tips on how to do this job.
Many researchers globally continue to work on the new plastic separation and recycling technique. It is known that old cooking oil, which is a natural polymer, can be turned into a biodegradable picture for 3D printers. Other waste materials can also be used in graphene production. There are also techniques that enable the rapid conversion of bioplastics.
Chemical recycling will support mechanical recycling, especially in distressing products such as films and microplastics. The transformation of such materials, which disrupts the processes, will be much more problematic with chemical methods.
While many scientific studies focus on this issue, different companies also strive to take recycling to the chemical level. This process, of course, requires time, expertise and money. Most technologies are under development to a level that can be commercialized.
Although it is not known what the future will bring, it is clear that if plastic pollution continues like this, we will not encounter much nice things. The hope of humanity may be hiding in chemical recycling.