23-Year-old Invents Method to Break Down Unrecyclable Plastic Film into Valuable Liquids


There are over 6 billion tons of plastic waste languishing on the planet, unable to be recycled – but this 23-year-old college student may have come up with an ingenious way to reuse all of that trash.

Miranda Wang is one of the co-founders of BioCellection: a company that uses a chemical process to break down plastics and turn them into an essential ingredient for nylon, which otherwise uses petroleum.

Wang’s method specifically targets polyethylene, a cheap kind of plastic that is only recycled less than 3% of the time. Despite being the most used plastic in the US, much of this plastic is rejected from recycling plants because it’s covered in dirt, food, or grime.

“Film is the worst type of plastic because it’s so easy to catch surface contamination,” Wang told WIRED. “You can have such a small amount by mass, by weight of plastic, and its entangled and wrapped around everything in the waste bin and it just catches all the liquids and the oil.”

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Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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Sasha Harriet

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