It goes without saying that the world uses a lot of plastic and that we have a plastics waste crisis. Everybody knows that recycling plastics is an ongoing effort that although continues to improve, is not quite there yet. Only a small amount of plastic material can be successfully recycled. When originally developed, plastics were not designed to be recycled. The problem is that during the recycling process, it loses quality. The reason this happens is because plastics are made up not only of polymers, but also of additives, such as pigments, stabilizers, flame retardants, and many more. During the recycling process, when the plastics are melted down, the various additives are often incompatible with each other, greatly lowering the quality of the new material. And the idea of recycling a recycled product has almost been out of the question.
Until now. In 2019, a new plastic was invented called PDK (poly diketoenamine). This plastic has all the characteristics of traditional plastic, but can be recycled indefinitely with no loss in quality. PDKs were engineered from the beginning to be recycled. The resin is designed to easily break down into monomers when mixed with an acid. The additives can be separated and removed, leaving the monomers without any loss in quality. This creates a completely circular lifecycle and allows for infinite repeatability.
The team of inventors are now studying production processes, costs, energy requirements, and emissions of PDK as compared to traditional plastics. Their goal is to refine the production so that PDK can be inexpensive to make and easy enough to produce to be used in commercial applications.
The Polymers Technology Center helps plastics producers with their processing needs. Contact us to learn how we can help your company, whether your need is pilot scale or full production. We are located at 8900 Research Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262. Call (704) 602-4106 or Email us, we look forward to hearing from you.