SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — A newly developed technology uses material from recycled plastic bottles as components of pharmaceutical products.
A joint research team from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), Korea University, and Ewha Women’s University announced on Tuesday that they had developed a new technology that chemically disassembles plastic bottles into base materials for medicine and other plastic products.
Conventional methods of recycling plastic bottles through disintegration, cleansing, and drying faced the risk of degrading the quality of the recycled material.
The research team discovered an alternative method by causing a chemical reaction between plastic bottles and water inside a microwave reaction system heated to 230 degrees Celsius, disassembling them into base materials including terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol.
The researchers also succeeded in turning these base substances into useful materials by using microorganisms.
Terephthalic acid turned into gallic acid, catechol, pyrogallol, muconic acid, and vanillic acid, and ethylene glycol turned into glycolic acid, all of which are used in medicine or plastic products.
Gallic acid, for instance, is used as an intermediate for antioxidants, while vanillic acid is used in medicine or as a flavoring agent for cosmetic products.
“The new technology will enable resourceful recycling of plastic bottles,” said Dr. Kim Hee-taek from the KRICT.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)