Issue 02 | 2021
As the planet’s burden of rubber and plastic rises unabated, scientists look to the promise of closed-loop recycling to reduce trash. Researchers in the Chirik Lab, Department of Chemistry at Princeton University (New Jersey, USA), have discovered a potentially game-changing new molecule, with vast implications for fulfilling that promise through depolymerization. It was found in a material called polybutadiene, which has been known for over 100 years and is used to make rubber and plastic products. Butadiene, its monomer, is an abundant organic compound and a major byproduct of fossil fuel development.