Plastic waste is a valuable organic resource. However, proper technologies to recover usable materials from plastic are still very rare. Although the conversion/cracking/degradation of certain plastics into chemicals has drawn much attention, effective and selective cracking of the major waste plastic polyethylene is extremely difficult, with degradation of C−C/C−H bonds identified as the bottleneck. Pyrolysis, for example, is a nonselective degradation method used to crack plastics, but it requires a very high energy input. To solve the current plastic pollution crisis, more effective technologies are needed for converting plastic waste into useful substances that can be fed into the energy cycle or used to produce fine chemicals for industry. In this study, we demonstrate a new and effective chemical approach by using the Fenton reaction to convert polyethylene plastic waste into carboxylic acids under ambient conditions. Understanding the fundamentals of this new chemical process provides a possible protocol to solve global plastic‐waste problems. Copyright © 2016 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Bibliographical noteChow, C.-F., Wong, W.-L., Ho, K. Y.-F., Chan, C.-S., & Gong, C.-B. (2016). Combined chemical activation and Fenton degradation to convert waste polyethylene into high-value fine chemicals. Chemistry: A European Journal, 22(28), 9513-9518. doi: 10.1002/chem.201600856
- Carboxylic acids
- Fenton reaction
- Waste reduction