Breakthrough Polymer Research Promises to Revolutionize Recycling (CLAS News)

Breakthrough Polymer Research Promises to Revolutionize Recycling

A team of researchers led by Brent Sumerlin, the George B. Butler Professor in the Department of Chemistry and UF Innovate researcher, has made a breakthrough with the potential to transform how we recycle plastics. Their innovative approach to working with polymers has led them to develop a new method for recycling that promises to lower the energy requirement without sacrificing the quality of the plastic.

It’s no secret that the U.S. and the Earth at large have a pressing plastic problem. Despite a meteoric rise in usage over the past few decades, only about 10% of our plastic currently ends up getting recycled.

Polymer research at UF has continued to receive significant attention and funding in recent years. In April, Sumerlin and colleague Austin Evans received a prestigious MURI Grant from the Department of Defense to propel their research in this field. These groundbreaking discoveries may be just the first steps toward unlocking the full potential of polymers. For now, thanks to the efforts of Sumerlin and his team, the future of recycling is ablaze with possibilities, promising a greener and more sustainable tomorrow.

“Our work is a response to the call to action proposed by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” said Sumerlin. “New recycling strategies have become imperative to reduce the negative impact of plastic on the environment.”

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