Plastic Can Be Just As Strong The Second Time Around

Recycling plastics is one way to keep landfills from over flowing, but the technology is still primitive. Most methods merely chop up plastics, rather than break them down into their molecular building blocks, called monomers. The few processes that do turn plastics back into monomers work on only one kind at a time. As a result, recycled plastics are used mainly as fillers, making up no more than about 10% of the volume of new plastic materials, so that they don't compromise strength and other key properties, says Mark Paisley, a project manager at Battelle Memorial Institute.

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