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Is chemical recycling of plastics the future?

Natural Scienc, Technologies

Thematic Area
Applied Chemistry

This video of 53 minutes was developed by the Royal Society of Chemistry Science Policy Unit and it explores current issues around plastic reuse and disposal.
The most interesting parts that we suggest to be used as teaching material are Sam Hill’s presentation (time point 7:00 – 18:30) and Ina Vollmer’s presentation (time point 19.00-32.00).
The plastic waste problem is at a critical point, and while plastics are a useful material in many applications, it is necessary to find ways to live with them without creating environmental harm.
Through Sam’s presentation the mechanical recycling of polyethylene and polypropylene is discussed.
Ina’s presentation focuses on chemical recycling of plastics. Chemical recycling is actually an umbrella term covering several technologies which break apart polymer chains and produce a product further away from a finished plastic. Some of these processes are highly selective, and some use high temperatures to indiscriminately ‘crack’ polymer chains into a mixed product. The carbon footprint of these procedures is also examined.

Points of Strength
The point of strength of this video is that it focuses on recycling of plastics which is a growing attitude of aware citizens during the last years. Another point of strength is that it is also presented at sign language.