|Science & Tech Spotlight: Advanced Plastic Recycling|
Plastic waste—overflowing landfills and polluting oceans—has grown tenfold in the U.S. from 1970-2018, as recycling rates have remained low. Chemical recycling is an alternative or complementary technology to current mechanical recycling processes (like sorting and shredding). Chemical recycling technologies use heat, chemical reactions, or both, to recycle used plastic into new plastic, fuel, or other chemicals—creating a closed loop where plastics can be infinitely recycled to help reduce reliance on landfills. But, adopting chemical recycling technologies faces hurdles, like high startup costs and few incentives for investing in innovation.