Chemical catalysts rarely make big news, but today's an exception. In a paper published in Macromolecules, a journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers at IBM and Stanford University said they have discovered a new way to make plastics that can be continuously recycled by substituting organic catalysts for the metal oxide or metal hydroxide catalysts most often used to make the plastics. The news is generating headlines, in part because the Associated Press and other wire services jumped on it this morning. The New York Times Green Inc. blog has a good report on the study, quoting Chandrasekhar Narayan, from IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. Narayan says the catalysts are cheap, and can make polymers that are durable, recyclable, and biodegradable. "It's really a new class of polymers," he told the Times. "I think it's going to revolutionize synthetic chemistry." Watch PlasticsNews.com for more information about the technology.
New catalysts may encourage recycling
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