Waste plastics unzipped into useful chemicals

Hamish Crawford writes about a hot ChemComm article for Chemistry World

Useful small molecules with potential applications in the cosmetics and fine chemical industries have been recovered from waste plastics by scientists in the US.

Petroleum based polymers such as polyesters and polycarbonates make up a significant proportion of the 100 million tonnes of plastic waste generated globally every year, of which only between 5–30% is recycled. Traditional recycling commonly leads to new plastics with inferior properties that frequently find use in lower grade applications, such as fibres or carpeting.

The pincer catalyst hydrogenates the ester linked backbone of the polymer, unzipping it into small molecules

Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the original journal article in ChemComm – it’s free to download until 2nd May:
Controlled hydrogenative depolymerization of polyesters and polycarbonates catalyzed by ruthenium(II) PNN pincer complexes
Eric M. Krall, Tyler W. Klein, Ryan J. Andersen, Alex J. Nett, Ryley W. Glasgow, Diana S. Reader, Brian C. Dauphinais, Sean P. Mc Ilrath, Anne A. Fischer, Michael J. Carney, Dylan J. Hudson and Nicholas J. Robertson  
Chem. Commun., 2014, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C4CC00541D

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