How to Build a Microplastics-Free Environment: Strategies for Microplastics Degradation and Plastics Recycling

Publication Name

Advanced Science


Microplastics are an emergent yet critical issue for the environment because of high degradation resistance and bioaccumulation. Unfortunately, the current technologies to remove, recycle, or degrade microplastics are insufficient for complete elimination. In addition, the fragmentation and degradation of mismanaged plastic wastes in environment have recently been identified as a significant source of microplastics. Thus, the developments of effective microplastics removal methods, as well as, plastics recycling strategies are crucial to build a microplastics-free environment. Herein, this review comprehensively summarizes the current technologies for eliminating microplastics from the environment and highlights two key aspects to achieve this goal: 1) Catalytic degradation of microplastics into environmentally friendly organics (carbon dioxide and water); 2) catalytic recycling and upcycling plastic wastes into monomers, fuels, and valorized chemicals. The mechanisms, catalysts, feasibility, and challenges of these methods are also discussed. Novel catalytic methods such as, photocatalysis, advanced oxidation process, and biotechnology are promising and eco-friendly candidates to transform microplastics and plastic wastes into environmentally benign and valuable products. In the future, more effort is encouraged to develop eco-friendly methods for the catalytic conversion of plastics into valuable products with high efficiency, high product selectivity, and low cost under mild conditions.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Natural Science Foundation of China



Link to publisher version (DOI)