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Open Access Closed-Loop Recycling of Polymers Using Solvents : Remaking plastics for a circular economy

Recycling of plastic is an established technology contributing to a circular economy. A sustainable society requires recycling to produce high quality feedstocks from all types of reusable waste. New recycling technologies will help to improve waste management practices, for instance dissolving plastic waste in a solvent to purify and maintain its material properties. In solution it is also possible to depolymerise polymers into monomers that can be used to remake virgin-grade material. In this review the advantages and disadvantages of three solvent-based recycling processes will be considered: separation of cotton and polyester (polyethylene terephthalate (PET)) textiles, chemical recycling of polylactic acid (PLA) and dissolution-precipitation of polyvinylchloride (PVC). The current state of the art and future prospects are discussed, including a brief overview of how solvents are being used to process other types of plastic waste.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Chemistry, University of York Heslington, York, YO10 5DD UK

Publication date: January 1, 2020

This article was made available online on October 31, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Closed-loop Recycling of Polymers Using Solvents".

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