The most common type of plastic, called polyethylene, is found in grocery bags, toys, machine parts, and more, and it degrades very slowly. This makes polyethylene responsible for a lot of plastic pollution, as discarded items languish in landfills.
However, scientists may have found a way to degrade polyethylene much faster, and to capitalize on that degradation by turning the plastic into fuel. It turns out that polyethylene can be used as an ingredient in a chemical reaction that produces diesel fuel. During the process of that reaction, polyethylene is broken down, and the breakdown happens more quickly than it would if the plastic was just sitting in a garbage dump. Although this technique is far from commercially ready, it's quite promising.
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