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Researchers have developed a method to transform carbon atoms in mixed debris into new plastic without having any negative effects on the environment, which is a huge step toward tackling the problem of waste management. The innovative technique can produce plastic goods more cleanly and doesn't use fossil-based basic materials. Only a small portion of the waste produced is recycled at the moment.

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed raw materials for plastic manufacture using waste carbon atoms in a recent study.

"Waste has enough carbon atoms to supply all the plastic produced worldwide. We can decouple the supply of new fossil raw materials from the production of plastic products by using these atoms, according to Henrik Thunman, professor of energy technology at Chalmers University of Technology and lead researcher on the study that was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

The new recycling technique, which takes its cues from the carbon cycle, does away with the need to produce plastic from fossil fuels. Instead of being recycled, the carbon atoms utilised in the study are often burned or disposed of in landfills.

The team has suggested a methodology that treats waste material using a thermochemical process. At 600–800 degrees Celsius, the waste is heated and converted to a gas. The gas is then given hydrogen in order to make it a building block for polymers.

Researchers are aiming to create a thermochemical recycling technique that produces gas in place of the fossil fuels or gas now utilised in manufacturing plastic goods. For this, they put used paper cups and plastic items into reactors at the Chalmers Power Central, either with or without food residue.