Chemical recycling of plastic wastes with alkaline earth metal oxides: A review

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Plastics have been widely used in daily life and industries due to their low cost and high durability, leading to huge production of plastics and tens of millions of plastic wastes every year. Chemical recycling can recycle contaminated and degraded plastics (that mechanical recycling cannot deal with) to obtain value-added products, which potentially solves the environmental problems caused by plastics and realizes a circular economy. Alkaline earth metal oxides, as a category of cost-effective and multi-functional materials, have been widely used in chemical recycling of common plastics, acting as three roles: catalyst, template, and absorbent. Among five commercial plastics, polyethylene terephthalate is suitable for pyrolysis and solvolysis. Polyethylene and polypropylene, which are ideal precursors for synthesis of carbon nanotubes, could be combined with biomass for co-pyrolysis. Polyvinyl chloride needs to be pretreated to reduce chloride content prior to pyrolysis. Depolymerization of polystyrene into monomers is attractive. This review summarized the chemical recycling approaches of commercial plastics and the strategies with alkaline earth metal oxides for the development of efficient recycling processes. It will aid understanding of the advances and challenges in the field and promote the future research.

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Science of The Total Environment