The battle to break plastic's bonds

Northwestern University, Ames Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory, were featured in BBC World News for their development of a chemical technique which breaks down the bonds that make polyethylene - the plastic most commonly used to make the ubiquitous carrier bag - so indestructible.

The process "chops up" the plastic polymer, turning it into liquid oil. His team published their breakthrough in the journal ACS Central Science. It is a clever catalytic technique using metal nanoparticles to essentially snip the polymer apart - chemically transforming it into a liquid.

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