From Plastic Waste to Polymer Electrolytes for Batteries through Chemical Upcycling of Polycarbonate
The constant increase of plastic waste released into the environment is a global problem which is of increasing concern to the general population. Although there are many different approaches to the recycling of plastics, chemical recycling is currently seen as one of the most promising technologies in that it allows plastic waste to fit into a sustainable, circular economy. Herein we investigate the chemical recycling of Bisphenol A polycarbonate (BPA-PC) using diols of different chain lengths to yield Bisphenol A and innovative carbonate-containing diols. Subsequently, the latter are polymerised into a series of unique value-added aliphatic polycarbonates (APC). The new polymers obtained by this method have shown promising values of ionic conductivity that make them attractive candidates to be implemented as sustainable polymer electrolytes for solid-state batteries. This procedure opens the way for recycling methods to produce unique, innovative materials using plastic waste as an alternative sustainable feedstock.