Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Science
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
RIP Winter (2)

Rest In Peace Winter, 2005-2021

Winter the dolphin was born off the coast of Florida in 2005 where it was...
Peter Flood

Court Rejects Federal Attempt to Sink Right Whale Ship Strike Lawsuit

WASHINGTON- A federal court on Wednesday rejected the Biden administration's effort to dismiss a lawsuit...
Tilikum in captivity

Expedia No Longer Endorsing Interactions or Performances By Whales and Dolphins

WDC welcomes the news from online travel company Expedia Groups that they've updated their animal...
Ramari Steward and nihongore skeleton Credit: Tanya Cumberland

Newly discovered whale species – introducing Ramari’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon eueu)!

Ramari Steward and nihongore skeleton Credit: Tanya Cumberland New species of whale includes "traditional" naming...

A next-generation plastic that can be recycled again and again

Recycle plastic

A team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has designed a recyclable plastic.

Like a Lego playset, it can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level. It can then be reassembled into a different shape, texture, and colour again and again without loss of performance or quality. The new material is called PolyDiKetoenamine or PDK.


All plastics, from water bottles to automobile parts, are made up of large molecules called polymers. Polymers are composed of repeated units of shorter carbon-containing compounds called monomers. Chemicals are added to make plastic more tough or flexible and these are tightly bound to the monomers. They stay in the plastic even after it’s been processed at a recycling plant.

During recycling processes, plastics with different chemical compositions like hard, stretchy, clear or coloured plastics, are mixed together and ground into bits. Then this mix of different plastics is melted to make a new material. But it is hard to predict which properties it will inherit from the original plastics.

This uncertainty has prevented plastic from becoming a truly circular material that can be reused for as long as possible, or “upcycled” to make a new, higher quality product.


Unlike conventional plastics, the monomers of PDK plastic can be recovered and freed from any additives simply by dunking the material in a highly acidic solution. The acid helps to break the bonds between the monomers and separate them from the chemical additives that give plastic its look and feel.

Using PDK could make a difference for where there are no recycling options. For example, adhesives, phone cases, watch bands, shoes, computer cables, and hard thermosets that are created by moulding hot plastic material.


We now need facilities to recycle or upcycle PDK and related plastics and then we would be able to more effectively divert plastic from landfills and the oceans. How amazing would that be?

Visit our website to find out more about the problem of plastic pollution.

Read more about the breakthrough discovery of PDK here.

Related News

A harbor seal pup is assessed for body condition and signs of injury. (WDC)

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Joins Marine Mammal Stranding Network

We have good news for any whales, dolphins, seals, and porpoises in trouble from Marshfield to Plymouth, Massachusetts: there's a new stranding response team in...

New Baby Alert – First Right Whale Calf of the Season Spotted!

One little right whale calf couldn't wait until the official start date of the North Atlantic right whale calving season to make an appearance! Thanks...
North Atlantic right whale fluking

Six Questions With Dr. Michael Moore

We talked with Dr. Michael Moore of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution about his new book "We Are All Whalers", working in whale conservation, and how...
RIP Winter (2)

Rest In Peace Winter, 2005-2021

Winter the dolphin was born off the coast of Florida in 2005 where it was expected she would spend her life, traveling with family and...

Leave a Comment