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Posted Tue Mar 9 2010: from
IBM, Stanford cite advance in plastic recycling
When you recycle a plastic bottle, it doesn't necessarily become another plastic bottle. Because of limitations in recycling technology, a common type of plastic used in water bottles and food containers weakens so much when it's recycled that it can't be used again for the same purpose. Some small amount of the plastic might make it into another bottle, but more often than not, it instead becomes synthetic carpet or clothing and can't easily be recycled a second time. So when those products are used up, they end up in landfills. Researchers from IBM Corp. and Stanford University believe they have developed a way to significantly improve the quality of recycled plastic and strip away those limitations.... The innovation is a new family of catalysts that can reduce polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic to its basic building blocks, while retaining its original properties and making it "ridiculously economical" to build it back up again, said Bob Allen, senior manager of chemistry and functional materials for IBM's Almaden research center in Silicon Valley.
[Read more stories about: plastic problems, phthalates]
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'Doc Jim says:
"Ridiculously economical" has such a ring to it.

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