A research group of Prof.Yosuke Shigetomi, Assis. Prof. Hajime Ohno, Prof.
Modern lifestyles depend on petroleum-derived products such as plastics and synthetic rubbers for containers, clothes, and appliances, mainly because of advantages in terms of their lightweight and highly moldable nature. Global plastic production currently accounts for more than 320 million tons (Mt), resulting in global waste issues for the marine environment in addition to human exposure.(1−3) Another environmental concern is that global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) related to plastic production will almost quadruple by 2050 compared with 2015 levels unless mitigation strategies including renewable energy, recycling, and demand-management are implemented.(4) On the other hand, from a carbon metabolism point of view, these petroleum-derived products that are in use or remain fixed in a landfill can be seen as a form of carbon reservoir, alongside forests, wood products, and carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS). Therefore, although mechanical and chemical recycling approaches for material recovery could reduce the dependency of production on raw material extraction, most current waste treatment approaches lead to the release of embedded CO2 to the atmosphere during incineration, regardless of the energy recovery process employed.(5) Reducing CO2 in line with national targets is another crucial issue in order to prevent serious climate change.
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Environmental Science & Technology