The development of new, alternative ways of recycling plastics is an important and urgent challenge for industry and science as it has a significant impact on CO2 Emissions as well as improving resource efficiency and reducing landfilling. Currently, reuse and mechanical recycling are the most common ways to recover post-consumer plastics. However, chemical recycling, in which polymer chains are depolymerized to recover the original monomers or intermediate oligomers, is attracting a lot of attention. Chemical recycling enables various types of plastic waste from single polymer and mixed waste streams to be converted back to their original components. By creating a new secondary quality raw material, chemical recycling can help close the loop and reduce the consumption of fossil resources. The energy barrier to depolymerization is usually high; Therefore, these reactions tend to require high temperatures and / or pressures. Therefore, reducing the reaction temperature and pressure by incorporating catalysts has led to an entire field of research looking for catalysts that promote solvolysis under mild reaction conditions. In this review, we evaluate the various depolymerization conditions for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in the literature using three proposed metrics for green chemistry that allow us to compare energy economics (ε Coefficient), the environmental factor (E.) and the combined effect of both (ξ). These green chemistry metric parameters allowed us to numerically compare different studies and determine their relative feasibility. This can help to find better avenues for a viable implementation of chemolytic depolymerization for current and future studies in the field of chemical depolymerization of PET and other polymeric materials.

Graphic Summary: Chemolytic Depolymerization of PET: An Overview

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