New Tech Could Help Recycle Plastic Holiday Packaging

Chances are at least one of the presents you unwrapped today came in a hard-to-recycle plastic package.

Living without plastic
is difficult for most families, and it takes a great deal of time to separate plastic packaging for recycling. Even when people take the tine to separate, only 12 percent of plastic waste is truly recycled because it’s made with more than one type of plastic, which makes it difficult to process.

If you hate the idea of tossing it in the waste bin, you’ll be happy to know that University of Warwick engineers have come up with a simple process that can cope with every piece of plastic waste and can even break some polymers such as polystyrene – back down to its original monomers (styrene in the case of polysterene).

Tests have shown that the researchers have been able to literally shovel in to such a reactor a wide range of mixed plastics which can then be reduced down to useful products many of which can then be retrieved by simple distillation.

This research could have a significant impact on the budgets of local authorities and help protect the environment from the consequences of our plastic addiction.

Engineers are now working with the University’s technology transfer arm, Warwick Ventures, who expect that their work will be of great interest to local authorities and waste disposal companies who could use the technology to create large scale reactor units that would produce tanker loads of reusable material.

Image Credit: Flickr - katerha

106 comments

W. C
W. C1 months ago

Thank you.

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William C
William C1 months ago

Thanks.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Val Away G.
Valerie G5 years ago

Bravo to those engineers who came up with this process... :)

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KARLOLINA G.
KARLOLINA G5 years ago

It seems that the more I try to recycle the more plastic they come up with. I try my best to be careful of how things are packaged.

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Cynthia Jacobs
Cindy J6 years ago

Awesome!! Hopefully one day soon, there won't be one plastic item that cannot be recycled. That will be excellent!

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Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

This is very exciting. I've recycled forever -- my Mom and Oma taught us to. But like the author said, much plastic doesn't have the "1" or "2" in the little triangle on the bottom (recyclable). The other many plastics go into the trash, lots of waste and landfill. So this could revolutionize our world -- recycle everything around again.

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