Reaction: A strong, recyclable plastic developed from plant-based materials

Researchers have developed a new method to produce a heat-resistant plastic from renewable plant materials. They also claim that it is easily recyclable, decomposing into methanol, which would allow it to enter the circular economy. The research is published in the journal Science

11/04/2024 - 20:00 CEST
Expert reactions

Plásticos - Rovira (EN)

Joaquim Rovira Solano

Researcher at the Centre for Environmental Food and Toxicological Technology (TecnATox) at Rovira i Virgili University

Science Media Centre Spain

The article seems to me to be of good quality and deals with a very relevant topic for one of the big problems we are facing as a society: pollution by plastics or microplastics. 

The idea is to replace a non-degradable material that belongs for a long time (>500 years) in the environment and when it fragments it generates much more serious problems (microplastics and chemical additives) with another degradable one. But the following doubts/concerns come to mind: What about the additives incorporated in this material when it degrades? Will they be released into the environment more quickly and generate higher concentration peaks (and therefore potentially more toxic) than traditional plastics? There are already quite a few studies on polymers such as polylactic acid, are we generating micro- or nano-particles that are likely to be toxic to the environment? 

As always, we give alternatives to problems and generate others. We had to approach this problem from a holistic point of view.


The author has declared they have no conflicts of interest
Closed-loop recyclability of a biomass-derived epoxy-amine thermoset by methanolysis
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
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Wu et al.

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  • Peer reviewed
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