Using waste poly(vinyl chloride) to synthesize chloroarenes by plasticizer-mediated electro(de)chlorination
New approaches are needed to both reduce and reuse plastic waste. In this context, poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) is an appealing target as it is the least recycled high-production-volume polymer due to its facile release of plasticizers and corrosive HCl gas. Herein, these limitations become advantageous in a paired-electrolysis reaction in which HCl is intentionally generated from PVC to chlorinate arenes in an air- and moisture-tolerant process that is mediated by the plasticizer. The reaction proceeds efficiently with other plastic waste present and a commercial plasticized PVC product (laboratory tubing) can be used directly. A simplified life-cycle assessment reveals that using PVC waste as the chlorine source in the paired-electrolysis reaction has a lower global warming potential than HCl. Overall, this method should inspire other strategies for repurposing waste PVC and related polymers using electrosynthetic reactions, including those that take advantage of existing polymer additives.
plastic, LCA, plastics recycling, polymers
Fagnani, Danielle E., Kim Dukhan, Sofia I. Camarero, Jose Alfaro, Anne J. McNeil. (2022). Using waste poly(vinyl chloride) to synthesize chloroarenes by plasticizer-mediated electro(de)chlorination. Nature Chemistry. CSS22-32