The fact that PET plastic can be turned back into virgin plastic is a big deal.
“This has advantages over traditional belt recycling,” Hal Alper, professor in chemical engineering and author on the paper, told Vice. “If you were to melt the plastic and then remold it, you’d start to lose the integrity of the plastic each round that you go through with recycling.”
This new method, however, can be used to make “virgin PET plastic each and every time,” Alper added.
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This is only for PET plastic, and they don't know yet how to ramp it up commercially, but it's a good hope.