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CALIFORNIA – Academics at California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have custom-designed new polymers called polydiketoenamine (PDK), which they believe could solve the issue of mixed-plastic recycling.  

In theory, the university would develop PDK-based alternatives to the materials used in various products – from clothing and footwear to electronics and packaging – which unlike current waste would be entirely recyclable. 

“Complex consumer products are simply not recycled today; they are either incinerated, landfilled, or downcycled,” said Brett Helms, of the university’s Molecular Foundry. “Here we’ve laid the groundwork for how to recycle such products back to their original monomer building blocks, in stride facilitating the recovery of materials bound to them for reuse.”  

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