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Open AccessArticle

Chemical and Electrochemical Recycling of End-Use Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) Plastics in Batch, Microwave and Electrochemical Reactors

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 215 UCB., University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80300, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gonzalo de Gonzalo and Mara Guadalupe Freire Martins
Molecules 2020, 25(12), 2742; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122742
Received: 15 May 2020 / Revised: 6 June 2020 / Accepted: 9 June 2020 / Published: 13 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 25th Anniversary of Molecules—Recent Advances in Green Chemistry)
This work describes new methods for the chemical recycling of end-use poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) in batch, microwave and electrochemical reactors. The reactions are based on basic hydrolysis of the ester moieties in the polymer framework and occur under mild reaction conditions with low-cost reagents. We report end-use PET depolymerization in refluxing methanol with added NaOH with 75% yield of terephthalic acid in batch after 12 h, while yields up to 65% can be observed after only 40 min under microwave irradiation at 85 °C. Using basic conditions produced in the electrochemical reduction of protic solvents, electrolytic experiments have been shown to produce 17% terephthalic acid after 1 h of electrolysis at −2.2 V vs. Ag/AgCl in 50% water/methanol mixtures with NaCl as a supporting electrolyte. The latter method avoids the use of caustic solutions containing high-concentration NaOH at the outset, thus proving the concept for a novel, environmentally benign method for the electrochemical recycling of end-use PET based on low-cost solvents (water and methanol) and reagents (NaCl and electricity). View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer recycling; microwave; electrochemical reactor; quaternary recycling; depolymerization polymer recycling; microwave; electrochemical reactor; quaternary recycling; depolymerization
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MDPI and ACS Style

Myren, T.H.T.; Stinson, T.A.; Mast, Z.J.; Huntzinger, C.G.; Luca, O.R. Chemical and Electrochemical Recycling of End-Use Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) Plastics in Batch, Microwave and Electrochemical Reactors. Molecules 2020, 25, 2742. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122742

AMA Style

Myren THT, Stinson TA, Mast ZJ, Huntzinger CG, Luca OR. Chemical and Electrochemical Recycling of End-Use Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) Plastics in Batch, Microwave and Electrochemical Reactors. Molecules. 2020; 25(12):2742. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122742

Chicago/Turabian Style

Myren, Tessa H.T.; Stinson, Taylor A.; Mast, Zachary J.; Huntzinger, Chloe G.; Luca, Oana R. 2020. "Chemical and Electrochemical Recycling of End-Use Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) Plastics in Batch, Microwave and Electrochemical Reactors" Molecules 25, no. 12: 2742. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25122742

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