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Database Provider


PBS NewsHour


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Chemistry, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 7 minutes, 48 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


Recycling Plastic Has Been an Uphill Challenge. Could Chemical Recycling Change That?

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  • This video details the traditional problems with recycling plastic and provides information on new chemical recycling technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way plastic can be broken down.
  • It also provides a brief and engaging introduction to the burgeoning field of chemical recycling, while reiterating the fact that recycling alone will not be enough to eliminate plastic waste.
Teaching Tips


  • The video shows footage of recycling facilities and provides an abundance of data and statistics. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • The concept of urban mining is introduced, but it is not defined in the video. 
  • Students should be familiar with terms such as polymer, virgin plastic, and solvent. 


Scientist Notes
The resource underscores the use of technology to recycle plastics, although these methods are still undergoing research to boost efficacy and are not sufficient to draw down plastic pollution globally. There may not be a silver bullet yet, but actions can be taken collectively to stem the tide of plastic consumption through a sustainable consumption plan. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • MS-PS1-3. Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
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