would u not matter the color? The new process wants to improve plastic recycling

Recycling PET bottles and other packaging from this material is not entirely easy. A group of French researchers think they drank with a procedure that would simplify the process.

How much the plastics code we produce in a large amount is not yet objectively described. Undoubtedly, this is a problem that will only worsen as the trend continues.

The most discussed way to reduce plastic can then be recycling. This, in combination with financial motivation as with other materials, should keep the material circulating according to and dream of the amount of material that gets into the environment.

However, plastics are not fully suitable for recycling. Their disadvantage is that they can be produced relatively cheaply and from relatively cheap raw materials. The price of processing often fits the price of the production of so-called virgin plastic. So it’s not as interesting a business as recycling metal, which humanity has been reaching for since time immemorial.

At least some can be overcome, the recently published research results of recent years. A group of scientists from the University of Toulouse and the French company Carbios, which specializes in the research of recycling technologies, believe that a more significant recycling process is available for the very popular PET, known primarily as a raw material for plastic bottles.

Thanks to the new process, more precisely thanks to the new flyer for the decomposition of PET, the recycling process should perhaps be significantly cheaper and more efficient. The scientists presented the results in the work for the spades of the scientific magazine Nature.

That’s not the way to go with plastics

PET (polyethylene terephthalate) accounts for about 20 percent of plastic materials produced (about 70 million tons out of a total of 360 million). It is composed of very long etzc. The material with short chains is, from the point of view of mechanical properties, essentially mountains, and for example in the production of lhv is unusable. The place on the bottles can then be used for the production of technical textiles, for various fillings, in the best case also for clothing.

Recycling the process of melting material, also set the whole process correctly so that the recovered material can be re-bonded just like virgin plastic, is not easy. From an economic point of view, the first recycled materials with the property of the original have the best hope for application.

When recycling PET materials, care must be taken to reduce the amount of waste, ie raw materials. Colorless PET bottles are best (alone, without pms of other colors), with other types of packaging the process is nronj. If we are to be consistent, the size of PET will therefore not recycle in the full sense of the word, because the material produced is of lower quality and is intended for other uses than the original PET.

The new result, which could significantly increase the recycling rate, is based on research conducted at the University of the Czech Republic. There, less than ten years ago, an enzyme called the abbreviation LLC was described there. It was found on compost, where bacteria used it to break up the protective wax layer on the leaves of plants. In addition, LLC can melt PET into two raw materials: ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid (this is the full component of PET; 836 kilograms per tonne).

Unfortunately, the enzyme decomposes relatively quickly and does not tolerate temperatures that are most suitable for recycling. The French group originally pasted the label. First, it mathematically modeled the different bottom atoms and molecules in the enzyme to identify variants that could be more resistant to high temperatures. Gradual research and further development resulted in an enzyme that is many times better.

Thus, it resolves at slightly high temperatures, at which PET slowly melts down (the new enzyme lasts about 72 C instead of the original 65 C). These temperatures are suitable because plastic is very resistant to enzymes under normal circumstances: PET is such a compact material that the enzyme is difficult to introduce into the material and decomposition is very slow. At high temperatures the material opens and the whole reaction is remarkably fast. Perhaps fast enough to be handcuffed to the recycling line, mind your car.

In a small laboratory experiment, the glued enzyme decomposed 90% of the PET that the scientists had thrown into the reaction time within 10 hours. The raw materials were created and the cars used them to make new material, only they had the same good properties as virgin PET. The enzyme can produce a quality raw material from a mixture of PET of various colors, because it does not react to the presence of dyes.

What in

The competition is mountains

In recent years, information has appeared several times in the news about the discovery of promising substances for a new generation of equipment for the decomposition of plastics, in some cases including PET (iDNES.cz wrote about one so-called PETze in 2018). According to published data, it can be seen that enhanced LLC enzyme is a property of its components. For example, thanks to the fact that it is possible to break down PET into reusable raw materials. So it is best to be practical.

Of course, the interesting result may come before practical implementation. Carbios, which took part in the development, is the state of the demonstration plant, which is expected to recycle hundreds of tons of PET. On nm, you will learn how technology meets outside the lab.

If technology osvd, the hopes of putting it into practice are not small. Really high-quality recycled materials (ie colorless bottles) are now sold in the EU at prices comparable to new plastic. There is a shortage on the market, and European companies are calling for an extra share of recycled plastic in sold packaging.

If the technology based on the improved LLC enzyme could manage to work into a high-quality material and you would like a mixture of bottles of different colors, it could currently find its place on the market. Of course, at this moment no one knows exactly what the market will look like in a year.