Life on Earth is nowadays full of plastics. The condition is maybe because plastics are affordable and easy to make. Plastics are even long-lasting; they often amazingly last forever. Those upsides mean very harmful to the environment due to their everlasting nature. Yes, plastic is a non-biodegradable waste. Natural organisms cannot break it down and thus plastics act as a source of pollution. According to ABC News, humans produce 300 million tons of plastic every year. It is nearly equal to the weight of all human beings living on the planet currently. Plastic pollution across the world’s oceans harm the marine ecosystem. But a new discovery from the scientists at Berkeley Lab could help us to deal with the problem.
The study, published in Nature Chemistry, describes how the researchers have found recyclable plastics. Maybe we have got a new way to create the plastics and reuse them in the form of any form, color, and shape. Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory stated that they had designed a new plastic, polydiketoenamine or PDK. The material easily breaks down in tiny molecules, and we can reconstruct it into another object many times. They call it, the ‘Holy Grail’.
Brett Helms, study’s leading author and the staff scientist at the lab, said the new finding could decrease the leakage of plastics into the environment at a greater extent. Generally, plastics consist of chemicals that offer rigidity to it. But these chemicals can make recycling a fully complex process. Scientists say only 20-30% of the most recyclable plastic is recycled. While the remaining end their journey in landfills or incinerators. On the other hand, the newly found, PDK, has the feature. The chemical basic elements, monomers, of PDK plastic could be restored and released from any added chemicals. Just a dip in a highly acidic solution can recycle it. Moving forward, the scientists intend to test the new plastic with a wide range of additives to reveal its potential. The move is also to ensure that it can always be decomposed into most primary form and transformed into something new.