Plastics as a Resource
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. — Richard P. Feynman
While plastic wastes have little value, we see opportunities in harvesting plastics as a resource. Selective depolymerization gives rise to unique structures, structures that are difficult to otherwise obtain. By leveraging organic chemistry, we convert the depolymerized plastics to high-value materials, through low-energy, low-cost means.
Most ‘impossible’ materials that one can imagine seem impossible because they have not been made, not because there is a sound theoretical reason that they cannot be made. — George M. Whitesides
While less than 10% of single-use plastics are effectively recycled, few durable plastics are recycled at all. We do not recycle durable goods — e.g., crosslinked polymer — because they are not designed to be recycled. We now know that selectively cleavable bonds in crosslinked polymers enable chemical recycling, however, their operations require high energy. Can crosslinked polymer be recycled with a low energy input? We envision the answer in integrating molecular structure design, processing condition, and property optimization.