US scientists said Thursday they have made progress toward a kind of plastic that can be recycled "infinitely," and that it appears durable enough to compete with regular plastics.
Unlike plastics made from petroleum products, the new kind can be converted back to its original small-molecule state, and remade into new plastics over and over, said the report in the journal Science.
"The polymers can be chemically recycled and reused, in principle, infinitely," said lead author Eugene Chen, professor in the Department of Chemistry at Colorado State University.
Chen cautioned that the research has been done in the lab only, and more work is needed to bring it to scale.
However, the team has built on an advance it announced in 2015, which resulted in a fully recyclable plastic that was softer than many would have liked.