Expanding plastics recycling technologies: chemical aspects, technology status and challenges

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2022
Authors
Li, Houiqian
Bai, Xianglan
Brown, Jessica
Cecon, Victor
Olafasakin, Olumide O.
Radhakrishnan, Harish
Tumu, Khairun N.
Vorst, Keith L.
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Royal Society of Chemistry
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Curtzwiler, Greg
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Mechanical EngineeringAgricultural and Biosystems EngineeringChemical and Biological EngineeringBioeconomy InstituteFood Science and Human Nutrition
Abstract
Less than 10% of the plastics generated globally are recycled, while the rest are incinerated, accumulated in landfills, or leak into the environment. New technologies are emerging to chemically recycle waste plastics that are receiving tremendous interest from academia and industry. Chemists and chemical engineers need to understand the fundamentals of these technologies to design improved systems for chemical recycling and upcycling of waste plastics. In this paper, we review the entire life cycle of plastics and options for the management of plastic waste to address barriers to industrial chemical recycling and further provide perceptions on possible opportunities with such materials. Knowledge and insights to enhance plastic recycling beyond its current scale are provided. Outstanding research problems and where researchers in the field should focus their efforts in the future are also discussed.
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This article is published as Li, Houqian, Horacio A. Aguirre-Villegas, Robert D. Allen, Xianglan Bai, Craig H. Benson, Gregg T. Beckham, Sabrina L. Bradshaw et al. "Expanding plastics recycling technologies: chemical aspects, technology status and challenges." Green Chemistry 24, no. 23 (2022): 8899-9002. DOI: 10.1039/D2GC02588D. Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
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