Despite efforts to promote recycling and reuse of plastic materials, the plastic problem continues to be a global problem. West Virginia University engineers hope to debottleneck the remaining challenges for recycling of single-use plastic packaging by upcycling them into petrochemicals.
“Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually, that’s about 307 bags per person,” said Yuxin Wang, research assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering and principal investigator of the project. “Single-use plastic waste ends up in landfills or the water, harming the ecosystem and natural environment. Most of the energy and carbon in plastic wastes will be recovered and the proposed technology will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”