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MIT researchers are recycling plastic bags in order to create a new sustainable fabric.

Plastic shopping bags are among the most harmful kinds of plastic trash. Scientists claim to have found a process for recycling plastic bags into future textiles. Researchers at MIT have developed a process for converting polyethylene into lightweight textiles that are more ecologically friendly than natural fibers such as cotton.

Polyethylene is the most widely utilized polymer in the production of single-use plastic bags and food packaging. It is a non-wicking fabric, which means it retains moisture and perspiration rather than pulling it away. The MIT study's success involves converting polyethylene into a yarn that can drain away moisture, making it more useful as clothing.

"There is an issue when someone tosses a plastic bag into the ocean. But those bags are readily recyclable, and if polyethylene can be turned into a shoe or a sweatshirt, it makes economic sense to pick up these bags and recycle them "Svetlana Boriskina, an MIT mechanical engineer who was part in the study, adds

In addition to its wicking qualities, the new polyethylene fabric has a low environmental impact since it can be washed at a lower temperature and dyed using colorful particles. "We don't need to go through the conventional procedure of coloring fabrics by immersing them in harsh chemical solutions. We can dye polyethylene fibers entirely dry, and at the end of their life cycle, we can melt them down, centrifuge them, and recover the particles for reuse "according to Boriskina

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MIT Polyethylene Svetlana Boriskina

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