Plastic Recycling: innovation turns plastic waste into useful products

by | February 12, 2018

A recycling innovation that can turn plastic waste into useful products

Plastic is one of the more common materials for a variety of things at the office, ranging from drinking cups to binders. Therefore, including the material in an office recycling program should be a top priority. It can be the difference between continuing to clog landfills and the oceans and turning the stuff into something useful.

Environmental experts have worried about the huge plastic islands that have appeared in the world’s oceans, killing wildlife and generally causing an ecological calamity as chemicals and microplastic leach into the water. But, according to a recent story in the UK Telegraph, what has been seen as waste is being turned into a useful resource thanks to recycling technology developed by Warwick University several years ago. Now we have the ability to recycle all plastic, turning it into oil that can be used as fuel or to be turned into other plastic products.

A plant that will recycle the entire plastic output of the town of Swindon is already in place and operating, with the goal of establishing similar facilities around the world. The way to prevent the plastic pollution of the world’s ocean is to divert the stuff and process it into recycled products instead of dumping it.

The next step will be to install these plastic recycling plants onto dredging ships and have them ply the world’s oceans, scooping up the stuff, and then processing them on board the vessel. When the ship is filled up it can make port where the recycled product can be unloaded and then sold on the open market.

Another scheme is being developed to mine landfills for plastic so that it can be used for recycled products, too. So far only 12 percent of plastic products is recycled. The rest is either burned or dumped into landfills or into the ocean. The practice is increasingly seen as not only environmentally destructive but wasteful, as well.