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Plastics are ubiquitous, but they're not practical. Less than 10% are recycled, and the other approximately 8 billion tons are creating a pollution crisis. Researchers are determined to change that. A new analysis shows producing and recycling their game-changing new plastic could be easy and cheap enough to leave old plastics in the dust.

Less than two years ago, Helms announced the invention of a new plastic that could tackle the waste crisis head on. Called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, the material has all the convenient properties of traditional plastics while avoiding the environmental pitfalls, because unlike traditional plastics, PDKs can be recycled indefinitely with no loss in quality.

Now, the team has released a study that shows what can be accomplished if manufacturers began using PDKs on a large scale. The bottom line? PDK-based plastic could quickly become commercially competitive with conventional plastics, and the products will get less expensive and more sustainable as time goes on.

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