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Chemical Recycling To Monomers

Ethan Stinchcomb
Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
Chemistry Building, Room 400
Materials Chemistry and Nanoscience Seminar

With the ever rising production of plastic globally, a renewed focus has been cast onto the end of life fate of these persisting products.1 Within this sphere, chemical recycling to monomers is a high interest area that focuses on the application of depolymerization to return plastics into reusable monomers in order to produce a truly circular plastic recycling economy.2 Within this field, the two main focuses are on either finding novel mechanisms for the depolymerization of current commodity plastics or to find suitable replacement plastics that can readily under go depolymerization to reusable monomers.3 The majority of previous effort has been focused on polyesters and polycarbonates that are more amiable towards depolymerization, but a substantial amount of work is still needed to target polyolefins.4,5

  1. Geyer, R.; Jambeck, J. R.; Law, K. L. Production, Use, and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made. Science Advances 2017, 3 (7).
  2. Coates, G.W., Getzler, Y.D.Y.L. Chemical recycling to monomer for an ideal, circular polymer economy. Nat Rev Mater 5, 501–516 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41578-020-0190-4
  3. Xu, G.; Wang, Q. Chemically Recyclable Polymer Materials: Polymerization and Depolymerization Cycles. Green Chemistry 2022, 24 (6), 2321–2346.
  4. Sathe, D., Zhou, J., Chen, H. et al. Olefin metathesis-based chemically recyclable polymers enabled by fused-ring monomers. Nat. Chem. 13, 743–750 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-021-00748-5
  5. Häußler, M., Eck, M., Rothauer, D. et al. Closed-loop recycling of polyethylene-like materials. Nature 590, 423–427 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-03149-9

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