A Professor Poeppelmeir of Northwestern University, Illinois, US has recently announced his new method of breaking down polyethylene bonds! Considering this is the plastic manufacturers most commonly use to make plastic bags, this is really quite a groundbreaking discovery.
The strong bonds within plastic, whilst being the main reason plastic is so widely used, are also the reason it is so hard to break down. This therefore shows the significance and potential impact of this discovery.
The technique makes use of metal nano particles that essentially snip the polymers apart, turning the plastic into a liquid oil. Professor Poeppelmeir and his team have stated that this liquid has potential value and are currently testing it as a lubricant!
Although a very exciting discovery, the process is still in early development so we likely wont see Poeppelmeir implement this science for a while. It is however, a big leap in the right direction to reduce plastic waste.