Stanford and IBM Create Environmentally Friendly Plastics
Stanford scientists and IBM researchers have announced the results of years of collaboration to develop environmentally friendly plastics using green polymer chemicals that can be broken down into elemental components for recycling. IBM Fellow and vice president Josephine Cheng announced this week that the collaboration conducted at the IBM Almaden Research facility will pave the way for biodegradable, biocompatible plastics for product packaging as well develop chemical catalysts that can break down existing products like the 13 billion plastic drink bottles discarded each year.
In a paper published in the February 2010 edition of Macromolecules, researchers revealed that by introducing environmentally benign organocatalysis to synthetic chemical polymers, currently disposable items can be reused by reversing the polymerization process and regenerating monomers to their original state. This research will also be crucial to refining common PET applications like Coca-Cola's new plant based plastic bottles.