Cutting-Edge Catalysts Break It Down for Plastics Recycling


In Japan, researchers at Nagoya University developed catalysts that can break down the strong chemical bonds in plastics quicker and more effectively than before, allowing for improved plastics recyclability. While those strong bonds give tough plastics their strength, they present a challenge for recycling as they require lots of energy and harsher conditions, like high temperatures and high pressure, to be broken down and recycled. The new organometallic ruthenium catalysts can break those amide bonds down in milder conditions and save energy. The team’s leader told Asian Scientist, “This catalyst has great potential for making designer peptides for pharmaceutics and could also be used to recover materials from waste plastics to help realize an anthropogenic chemical carbon cycle.”