For the first time, researchers have used a novel catalyst process to recycle a type of plastic found in everything from grocery bags and food packaging to toys and electronics into liquid fuels and wax.
[...] [The researchers] combined ruthenium, a metal in the platinum family, with cerium dioxide, used to polish glass among other applications, to produce a catalyst that caused the plastics to react at 473 degrees Kelvin. While still high for human sensibilities, it requires significantly less energy input compared to other catalyst systems.
New Atlas adds [newatlas.com]:
The researchers say they were able to convert about 92 percent of the waste plastic into useful materials. As much as 77 percent of it became a liquid fuel, while 15 percent yielded wax, which should help make plastic recycling a more viable prospect.
This is far from the only plastic recycling method on the horizon. Just a few weeks ago a team from UC Berkeley reported a new process to turn polyethylene into a clingy new adhesive [newatlas.com], while others are designing new plastics [newatlas.com] from the ground up to be easily recyclable.
New Catalytic Process Turns Plastic Bags Into Adhesives [soylentnews.org]
Yosuke Nakaji, Masazumi Tamura, Shuhei Miyaoka, Shogo Kumagai, Mifumi Tanji, Yoshinao Nakagawa, Toshiaki Yoshioka, Keiichi Tomishige. Low-temperature catalytic upgrading of waste polyolefinic plastics into liquid fuels and waxes, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental (DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2020.119805 [doi.org])