As useful as it is, plastic isn’t the most environmentally-friendly material. Our constant use of the stuff has seen huge amounts of it lodged in Arctic sea ice, penetrating to the deepest parts of the ocean and even travelling up the food chain.
To try to wean us off it, chemists at Colorado State University have now developed a polymer that apparently has all the benefits, but can be easily broken down and recycled over and over.
The new polymer is designed to be as versatile as plastics in everyday use, meaning it’s lightweight, heat resistant, strong and durable. The difference is that it’s far easier to recycle than conventional plastics, which require toxic chemicals or complicated procedures for diminishing returns.
The team’s new material is relatively environmentally-friendly to manufacture, too. Its monomers can be polymerized at room temperature in a matter of minutes, with tiny amounts of a catalyst and without the use of solvents.