A team of Chemists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently published their findings that would speed the degradation process of polyethylene, the plastic that makes up almost all of the bottles and bags disposed on a daily basis. The process would transform the polyethylene into liquid fuel.

Since plastic degrades very slowly, is it usually burnt, dumped or converted into other substances that is not energy efficient. The inefficient process of converting the plastic is called pyrolysis as it requires intense heating, and the new method found by these Chinese scientists would have a distinct advantage over the heat involving process. 

Zheng Huang, an organic chemist, led the team that found the system that can fully degrade plastic into liquid fuels like diesel and even waxes. This new method would be carried out a lower temperature and would produce cleaner products than those produced by the conventional methods that involves heat. The scientists used a catalyst system to develop a method that didn't require a lot of heat or any energy sources which ended up resulting in cleaner products.

The methods are still being refined but the scientists are hoping to scale up their process from a gram scale in the lab to eventually ton scale to help with recycling waste!