Initially, when creating plastics, scientists practically did not think about the problem of recycling new materials. The variety of their properties was put in the first place in order to maximize the scope of application. This is how the structure of modern plastic appeared - it is a monomer, a chain of repeating compounds, to which numerous additives are attached that determine the properties of a particular material.
It turned out to be relatively easy to destroy monomers and polymers synthesized from them, but when studying the issues of plastic processing, scientists faced the problem of additives. Many of them create not only strong, but also disordered bonds with monomers; therefore, it is impossible to find effective and cheap algorithms for their destruction. To address this challenge, Berkeley Laboratories have developed a new type of plastic: diketoenamine.
This compound is formed when a triketone is attached to an amine, and when long strands are formed, it is converted into poly-diketoenamine or PDA. It is very easy to destroy this substance with the help of ordinary acid, break it down into its original components, thereby destroying the base of the polymer. Experiments have shown that additives, including special protection against chemical reactions, heating and pollution, have practically no effect on the MPC degradation process.
Theoretically, we have before us a universal material that can be recycled indefinitely, as the operation of products from it ends. In practice, MPC still exists only in the laboratory and is not ready for real use. Who needs a plastic bottle that can fall apart at some point? Or plastic dishes that will not last even a dozen washing cycles with a cleaning agent. But the MPC is very promising, and work to stabilize it continues.