Skip to main content


a zipper with enzymes and polymers


The BOTTLETM Deconstruction Task aims to develop selective and scalable catalytic technologies to break down today’s plastics to processable intermediates for use in the Upcycling and Redesign tasks.

Our primary focus areas include the following; please contact us for more information about other activities in this task.

Thermal Catalysis

We are exploring chemistries that will enable selective and simultaneous deconstruction of mixed plastics at lower severity than common thermal depolymerization methods (i.e., pyrolysis and gasification). Toward enabling selective C-C bond cleavage, we are investing cleavage via alkane hydrogenolysis, the olefin-intermediate process, and other mild chemo-catalytic approaches. This work involves design of both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalyst systems.

Electro- and Photocatalysis

BOTTLE researchers are exploring both novel electrochemical and photocatalytic methods for C-C bond cleavage and deconstruction of mixed plastics at room temperature and low pressures. The scaled-up feasibility of these potential methods are being examined in collaboration with the Analysis Task.


BOTTLE biocatalysis efforts are focused on integrated, realistic processes for the use of enzymes for recycling C-O and C-N-linked polymers, including textiles, fibers, and packaging. We employ comprehensive biophysical, kinetic, and structural analyses of plastics-degrading enzymes and conduct performance testing on realistic substrates.

The Deconstruction Task employs substrates composed of both model and pristine plastics, as well as realistic post-consumer plastic waste, to determine the feasibility of the methods we are developing. Exemplary substrates of interest are listed below. This list is not exhaustive, so please contact us with questions about specific substrates of interest:

  • Mixed and non-recyclable plastics from materials recovery facilities and ocean plastics

  • Textiles, fibers, and foams including polyesters, polyamides, and polyurethanes

  • Multi-layer food and beverage packaging

  • Polyvinyl chloride-rich waste

  • Epoxy resins used in fiber-reinforced composites.

Graphic describing the deconstruction of plastic waste

Recent Publications

Conversion of Polyolefin Waste to Liquid Alkanes with Ru-Based Catalysts under Mild Conditions

Characterization and Engineering of a Two-Enzyme System for Plastics Depolymerization

Characterization and Engineering of a Plastic-Degrading Aromatic Polyesterase

Tandem Heterogeneous Catalysis for Polyethylene Depolymerization via an Olefin-Intermediate Process

Learn how to join the BOTTLE consortium and contact us to discover how best to work with us.