A new type of plastic has been invented by a team of chemists at Colorado State University, which they say can theoretically be recycled “infinitely”.
While plastics are incredibly useful, their impact on the environment has become increasingly clear in recent years, and current plastic recycling is thought to be inadequate.
The material created by Professor Eugene Chen has many of the same characteristics of everyday plastics, including strength, durability and heat resistance.
However, unlike conventional plastics it can be converted back to the molecules that form its building blocks with ease.
This process of “chemical recycling” can be undertaken without toxic chemicals or intensive lab procedures, and the scientists think it has potential to be rolled out industrially.
“The polymers can be chemically recycled and reused, in principle, infinitely,” said Professor Chen.
“It would be our dream to see this chemically recyclable polymer technology materialise in the marketplace.”