Green Chemistry

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  • Recyling
    • Much waste is dumped in landfill sites or burnt. However landfill sites are a blot to the landscape and are becoming harder to find, and burning releases harmful chemicals to the environment and is a waste of valuable energy.
      • Due to this recycling and degradable plastics are becoming a more attractive method for waste disposal.
        • Recycling reduces carbon emissions as it reduces the amount of polymer production and increases the useful life cycle of polymers.
      • Degradable  plastics
        • Most plastics aren't degradable, however there are 3 types of plastic which are degradable
          • SYNTHETIC BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS - broken down by bacteria
          • PHOTODEGRADABLE PLASTICS - broken down by sunlight
          • BIOPOLYMERS - made by living organisms and broken down by bacteria
            • the plastic is expensive and brittle
            • made from natural sources and so they're renewable
    • Recycling plastics is an obvious answer as most plastics can be reworked without decomposition.
      • However it's an expensive and time consuming process as the waste plastics have to be sorted.
    • Another approach is to recycle plastics chemically by converting them back in to their monomers and repolymerising.
      • However this isn't always practical where there isn't high quality single-material waste.
    • A further approach is to crack the plastics and break it into smaller molecules as these small molecules can then be used as feedstock in the chemical industry.


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