UK team develops new recycling method
January 7, 2011
English scientists have announced a new process to break down plastics that has the potential to make recycling notably easier and more efficient. The process involves a new way of heating recovered plastic that allows it to be reduced to its constituent monomers. This yields material like the styrene used for polystyrene or the terephthalic acid used in PET. More importantly, it can be done on mixed loads of plastic, which would remove one of the biggest challenges in recycling: sorting plastics by resin. The process was developed by a team from the University of Warwick Engineering and involves pyrolysis, or heating in the absence of oxygen.