Over the past few weeks, we have been hearing a lot about IBM doing loads of green stuff, which is all good. Now, IBM and Stanford researchers have come up with a way that would allow for PET plastic recycling, and do that at much lower temperatures. Currently, PET plastics are downcycled, rather than recycled. Which is to say, that they are good only for a lesser use like carpets and clothing, and cannot be recycled again.
The new technology uses organic catalysts that are said to be highly active and better for the environment. These can chemically breakdown PET into monomers, that can later form polymers. As compared to the conventional method, low temperatures are required throughout this process, which eventually leads to closed loop recycling and low energy use. Considering that 13 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year, this process holds a lot of environmental significance.