Scientists made glue from plastic bags

Chemists at the University of California, Berkeley, have recycled polyethylene used into the glue.

Although eight US states have banned single-use plastics, bags and plastic packaging still litter landfills and pollute water bodies.

One of the main problems with recycling polyethylene is that it is not processed into essential goods. Plastics are used for making decks or building materials, for example.

A new chemical process developed at the University of California, Berkeley, can make a good adhesive out of polyethylene plastic.

Most plastics are shredded during recycling: in this process, the basic properties of plastic, such as ease of processing and plasticity, are lost. Although new methods can break down plastics into their chemical constituents to make fuels or lubricants from them, these products are still of low value and can pose a threat to the environment.

A chemical process developed by a team of scientists retains many of the original polyethylene properties. Still, it adds a chemical group to the polymer that makes it stick to the metal. Modified polyethylene can be painted even with water-based latex. Latex peels easily from standard low-density polyethylene.

Although this process is not yet economical for industrial use, researchers believe it can be improved and modified to provide other beneficial properties.

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