The BBC television programme Blue Planet II has led to heightened awareness and public concern about plastic pollution. The University of Birmingham's Professor Andrew Dove recently co-authored an article for Science journal with Dr Haritz Sardon. The authors explain how chemists are rising to the global challenge of plastic pollution by developing both new methods of recycling used plastics and new plastics which offer the possibility of infinite recyclability.
In addition to summarising important developments in chemistry, Professor Dove and Dr Sardon also address the social and economic changes that are required in order to bring about a 'circular materials economy' where plastics and other materials are re-used as a matter of course. As well as scientific advances, political will is required to introduce appropriate infrastructure to underpin collection and sorting of plastic and effective regulation to ensure the responsible usage of materials.
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