Glycolysis of PET using 1,3-dimethylimidazolium-2-carboxylate as an organocatalyst

Lei Wang, Jeni Toland, Gareth Nelson, John Holbrey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)
575 Downloads (Pure)


The use of 1,3-dimethylimidazolium-2-carboxylate as an organocatalyst for the glycolysis of waste PET, poly(ethylene terephthalate), is reported for the first time. Post-consumer PET was completely depolymerised in less than 1 h at 180◦C with up to 60% of bis(2-hydroxyethyl terephthalate) (BHET) was recovered by precipitation after cooling of the reaction mixture. Under comparable conditions the basic ionic liquid, 1,3-dimethylimidazolium acetate, was a significantly less effective catalyst suggesting that catalysis occurs through formation of a nucleophilic N-heterocyclic carbene.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13362-13368
Number of pages7
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020


  • Ionic liquids
  • Plastics recycling
  • PET glycolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • General Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Glycolysis of PET using 1,3-dimethylimidazolium-2-carboxylate as an organocatalyst'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this