Susan Freinkel set herself this very task and found she lasted until she had to use the toilet, just seconds into her experimental day. So the American author instead decided to write down everything she touched made with plastic in all its forms (starting with her pen). By the end of the day she had filled four pages with a nowhere-near exhaustive list of 196 items ... a cellophane-wrapped box of tea, vinyl dog leash, her sneakers, the sticker she peeled off an apple, the Lycra in her sports bra.You won't be able to lean on your laminated benchtop, brush your teeth, pick up your shampoo bottle, button your shirt, put clothes in the dryer, switch on the kettle, touch your computer keyboard or use the TV remote. Forget grabbing the keys and jumping in the car. And you'd probably have to go a little hungry too. Can't touch the fridge handle to get to the plastic wrapped bacon, tub of yoghurt or plastic bottle of juice. The bread, looking so temptingly fresh in its bag, would be off limits too.Changed the face of medicine, industry
1863 ~ First plastic = solution to environmental problem Ivory Billiard balls = Elephant extinction New York Billiards supplier offers $10,000 for alternative1969 Neil Armstrong reaches the moon with special pressurized helmet made of Lexan!1982 – First artificial heart made mainly of polyurethane, introduced implanted in a human.2001 - iPod dreamed up by Tony Fadell, an independent inventor, developed by Apple Computers
1960 the average American consumed about 30 pounds of plastic. Now it's 300 pounds a year.We currently recover only 5% of the plastics we produce. What happens to the rest of it? Roughly 50% is buried in landfills, some is remade into durable goods, and much of it remains “unaccounted for”, lost in the environment where it ultimately washes out to sea.mass of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch at 100 million tons, spans an area 2 times the size of texas.[
Scientists say ocean no longer safe for us to swim due to levels of BPA.
These people understand the value in plastic trash. Because they have had to create something out of nothing, they have realized that one mans waste is another man’s treasure.
Take the Dharavi Slum as an example. This is a major hub of innovation. The slum spreads over 525 acres (212 hectares) and is home to more than a million people, 200,000 of which are employed in the plastic recycling business. The Dharavi slum is the recycling super-hub of Mumbai, believed to be host to at least 15,000 single room factories dealing with at least 80 percent of Mumbai's plastic recycling as well as other recyclables.
I was convinced that business is the most powerful agent for positive change on the planet. But it's not business as we know it today. It is fundamentally and profoundly different. It is business re-designed.The value that we saw in the 1900’s is still there, we just have to re-invent it! Re-innovate. Some game changers are doing just that.
Known as “Garbage Island” or “Pacific Trash Vortex” the trash collected in the Pacific Gyre is primarily plastic and spans an area two times the size of the state of Texas. Waste from the coastal regions of Japan and western North America has been collected in the region overtime because of the currents. Much of it is later redeposited on beaches in Hawaii. A few companies are working to collect and repurpose this waste but it is a daunting task.
Method has partnered with Envision plastics to clean up Hawaii beaches and recycle plastics coming from the Pacific Gyre. Method acknowledges that their efforts will not be able to clean up the ocean completely, their mission is to raise awareness about the problems of plastic pollution to spur the change in behavior that will reduce or stop new plastic from entering the waste stream. Each bottle they produce using waste from the beach clean ups will remove 15g of plastic from the ocean. Method is also willing to share their process with other businesses that are interested in doing the same thing. Cora- a new start up that Scott James is working on strives to clean up the gyre as well in order to up-cycle the plastic into children’s toys. Cora has used Method as a resource while developing their process.Both Method and Cora source their plastics from beach cleanup collections that are headed to the landfill. \\
The plastics that are collected during the beach clean-ups are extremely toxic. Hydrophobic chemicals in the ocean are absorbed by the porous plastic making the plastic waste itself dangerous to touch.The plastics are also extremely brittle and degraded from exposure to the sun and ocean water. Method has developed a washing process that detoxifies and makes the plastic usable again.Considering the pacific gyre is so remote establishing a steady stream of plastic to sustain the needs of a full product line is challenging. The goal of both Method and Cora is to ultimately change consumer behavior so that people are no longer trashing their plastics. By developing products made from plastics sourced from the largest collection of ocean plastics they are raising awareness that the plastic people throw away goes somewhere beyond the landfill. This will hopefully motivate consumers to recycle and reduce their use of plastic.
Sorted recycled plastic pellets sell for a comparable price of that of steel (75-95 cents per pound). Yet are usually discarded due to the difficulty of recycling mixed plastics. Its impossible to determine plastics types and grades with the bare eye and therefore traditional by hand sorting is not a viable methold.
In 1992 Mike Biddle started MBA Polymers in his garage to prove that complex plastics recycling was possible. By 1997 he had a opened a small scale processing and production plant in Richland, California.MBA received early financial support from the American Plastics Council, U.S. Department of Energy NICE program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Commerce (NIST ATP), State of California CalTIPP, and Vehicle Recycling Partnership.Since then they have opened up 3 more locations in , China, Austria, UK.This past March MBA Polymers secured a $15 million partnership and investment from Ambienta to expand operations.Specializes in extracting plastics from E-waste, household waste, and vehicular waste
MBA Polymersdeveloped a process in which plastic scraps from computers and other electronics are first ground into small pieces. Magnets and eddy-current separators then extract ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Paper and other lighter materials are removed with jets of air. Finally, a proprietary sorting, cleaning, and testing process involving various technologies, enables the company to separate different types of plastics and produce pelletized recycled plastics comparable to virgin plastics. MBA’s process uses only about 10% of the energy required to producevirgin plastics from petrochemicals.Their facilities are capable of processing 300 million pounds of plastics annually.
The next game-changing technology has been developed by Agilyx(pronounced ah-jill-ux), a company in the Portland area that is converting difficult to recycle plastic to turn it into into crude oil.
Company founded by Kevin DeWhitt in 2004 as Plas2Fuel. Kevin is a chemist who has been working in the analytical chemistry industry for the past few decades. The company’s process is patented.Uses 8-10 lbs of plastic to make one gallon of oil.Current machinery can make 10 tons of plastic to produce 60 barrels of oil per day. Process is scalable with additional machinery.Company is privately held so profitably is undisclosed, however the company maintains that their process is profitable even in the unlikely event that oil prices fall.The process works with all kinds of plastic, numbers 1-7 and is selling the oil they produce.Oil is primarily ultra-sweet, synthetic crude which can be refined either onsite at a microrefinery or at an existing refinery.Recently received $22m from investors led by Kleiner Perkins.
This is a photo of Agilyx’s processing facility. In the first tank in the foreground, plastic infused with hot air that transforms the plastic feedstock from a solid, to a liquid to a gas.Then, the gas moves through the tube along the left hand side of the screen that pulls the gasses from the cartridge to a central condensing system towards the top of the slide in the middle.The condensing system, gasses are cooled and synthesized into synthetic crude oil. Waste is removed from the and treated.Crude oil then enters into a coalescing and settling tank until it is transported to a refinery.
PLASTICS Game ChangersRe-Inventing the Value of Our Plastic Trash
Plastic - A Miracle CommodityMid-19th Century ~• limits to natures bounty• physical limitations of natural materialsInnovation in medicine, technology and science,automotive industry and manufacturingindustry.
What We Know Human Health At Risk! • CANCER • OBESITY • DIABETES • ASTHMA Marine Life Threatened! • 1 million seabirds and • 100,000 marine animals killed every year. Plastic Waste has become a Social Justice Issue!.
Key Challenges• Detoxifying plastics• How to make a high quality bottle out of degraded, brittle plastic that has been floating in the ocean for a decade or more• How to establish a supply chain for a material that’s floating in the ocean 2000 miles off the West Coast• How to change consumer behavior to stop the flow of plastics into the waste stream
Strengths Weaknesses- Proven process of recycling plastic - Not a practical solution to completely- Built in use for the plastic clean up the Gyre- Raises awareness about the issues in - Difficult to establish a supply chain the Pacific and waste plastics with a plastic source that is so remoteOpportunities Threats- Partnership with Envision Plastics - People will continue to send plastic to- Sharing their process with other landfills further degrading the situation in companies to increase awareness the Pacific
Complex Waste Streams• Plastics are comparable to steel on a price per pound basis.• Less than 10% of plastics from complex waste streams such as durable goods are currently recycled.• Over 90% of metals are recycled from these same complex waste streams.
Strengths Weaknesses• Proprietary system for difficult waste • Requires large scale permanent facility streams construction• 20 years of successful history • High capital investment• High volume capacity• Produces high quality product, comparable to virgin petro plasticsOpportunities Threats• Unlimited supply of plastics waste • Cheap/ free labor for waste sorting in• Increased cost of virgin petro plastics 3rd world countries• Partnership and investment from • Plastics waste availability, much of the Ambienta I developed world sends its complex• Partnerships with manufacturers to plastics off to developing countries for offer EvoSource closed-loop recycling disposal and processing. services.
Reduces Plastic. Produces Oil. Creates Community
Strengths Weaknesses• Proprietary system for difficult waste • Name is difficult to pronounce streams • A medium sized company that is trying• Purpose driven company filling a real to grow human need • Process is not zero waste, there is a• Can get raw materials for free or waste product inexpensively• Investment by Kleiner PerkinsOpportunities Threats• Unlimited supply of plastics waste • If virgin plastic becomes more easily• Increased cost of crude oil recyclable (using technologies from• Partnership with garbage haulers and MBA Polymers for example) could face recycling facilities scarcity of raw materials • Expects competitors to emerge soon
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