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IBM technology promises to make PET plastic renewable

February 11, 2019  

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IBM researchers have created a new technology called VolCat, a catalytic chemical process that can turn PET, a type of plastic commonly used in food packaging and polyester clothing, into a renewable resource. The cost-effective and sustainable innovation is capable of breathing new life into old plastic.

Currently, more than 272 million metric tons of plastic is produced each year around the globe, with one-quarter of that made up of PET. VolCat aims to use a precise combination of chemicals, heat and pressure to reduce this amount of plastic, and ultimately the amount of waste, produced.

According to IBM, this could “completely transform the way we discard and manufacture plastic” in the next five years.

To learn more about this new technology and IBM’s full list of five in five predictions, visit the IBM Research blog and tune into a live presentation from the IBM Think conference on February 13 at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET).