A new Polymer Recycling Approach; Closed Loop for a Circular Economy

According to projections, the amount of plastic garbage will increase by 200%, severely harming the ecosystem. Currently, large amounts of plastic trash are either burned or dumped in landfills. In addition to harming the environment, this also depletes precious resources. The ever-increasing amount of plastic solid waste has resulted in worldwide plastic pollution both on land and in the oceans.

Recycling plastics, such as polymers, is a sustainable waste management option that shows promise. However, this results in the dissolution of chemical bonds between monomers, which reduces the overall stability and effectiveness of polymers. In order to address this issue, researchers have created techniques for recycling polymers in a “closed loop,” or without losing their qualities.

A recently proposed closed-loop recycling method based on polymer microparticles was developed by a team of researchers under the direction of Associate Professor Daisuke Suzuki at Shinshu University.

The team created polymer microparticles by polymerizing methyl acrylate (MA) monomers in water using an aqueous emulsion, which produced polymer chains. They came together to create a mixture of homogeneous, spherical poly-MA microparticles. In order to generate a thin polymer film with physical (as opposed to chemical) cross-linking between the microparticles, the solution was then dried. The film’s properties could then be recovered by dissolving it in ethanol. In turn, different recycled materials might be created from these recycled microparticles.

In terms of lowering anthropogenic waste, closed-loop recycling of materials that do not deteriorate is appealing. Due to the typical trade-off between mechanical stability and degradability of polymer materials, this is now still highly challenging. The material recycling idea using microparticles permits the recycling of a huge number of functional polymer materials that we use in our day-to-day lives and has the ability to alleviate the problems of resource depletion and environmental pollution.

The films created in this research demonstrate a number of excellent qualities that they keep even after recycling. By combining the microparticles with the fillers made of silica nanoparticles, the researchers increased the fracture energy of the polymer films even more. Additionally, the optical properties of the resulting composite films were made adjustable by the addition of colored pigments and did not change after recycling. These findings imply that resource circulation for polymers and various other composite materials containing polymer microparticles will enable closed-loop recycling based on polymer microparticles to produce adherent surfaces between their various layers.

A totally recyclable film with a high fracture energy can be created using a “closed”-loop recycling technique. As a result, it will make it possible to recycle vast quantities of different polymer materials, which would reduce the quantity of plastic waste produced and perhaps even address the issues of plastic pollution and environmental deterioration. Dedicated to sustainability and circular economy,  Tradeasia International provides an extensive line of polymers, recycled polymers, as well as other eco-friendly options that can help you reduce your environmental impact. With the goal of providing a smooth supply chain experience, Tradeasia International, assisted by Sree Logistics, provides efficient logistic services, particularly ocean freight for containerized shipments.


Shinshu University (2023, March 28). Closed loop for circular economy: New polymer recycling strategy ensures both high stability and complete recyclability. Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-loop-circular-economy-polymer-recycling.html

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