Currently, we are not doing enough to recycle. This is especially true when it comes to plastic recycling. Less than 10 percent of the plastic we use is recycled, and there’s an estimated 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world. At the moment, we have in place a linear economy where plastics are produced, used, and disposed of. However, the goal of recycling innovation is to reach a circular economy where plastics are produced, used, reused, recycled, and consequently reproduced – starting off a circular life cycle.
In this post, we cover some of the latest recycling innovations:
Making polypropylene more widely recyclable
John Layman, the chief technologist and founding inventor of PureCycle Technologies, developed a revolutionary process to remove colour, odour, and contaminants from polypropylene plastic waste and transform it into a malleable and pure resin, which is the basis for plastic products. Polypropylene the second-most used plastic in the world, yet only 1 percent is currently recycled. It is hoped that the innovative process developed by PureCycle will enable us to recycle far more of the material.
Developing plastic roads
Companies are now trying out a new strategy of melting plastic products, combining additives and then using the mixture to pave roadways. MacRebur is one of the pioneer companies in building plastic roadways. Using only single-use plastics for their purpose, they contribute to reducing the carbon footprint.
With Ecobricks, empty plastic bottles are filled with clean, dried and single-use plastics, stuffed inside to the brink. This makes them resistant and like a brick, which can then serve as reusable building blocks for a number of purposes like building tables, beds, stages or even walls. In South Africa even a school was built from Ecobricks.
Plastic made of wood
The Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT has created a compostable material from agricultural and forestry by-products that can be used for packaging items like muesli, nuts, dried fruit and rice. These wood by-products plastic alternatives are great at reducing the plastic consumption we have in the packaging industry.
3D Printing Street Furniture
Parts from recycled plastic products are used to 3D print urban furniture such as benches. This has been done by companies like ‘The New Raw’. However, this is just one use for 3D printing with wasted plastic – think about what else we could 3D print, the possibilities are endless.
Using magnets to make recyclable plastic a more effective packaging material
Aronax Technologies is a company in Spain which has found that using a magnetic additive to recyclable plastic can create better air and moisture insulation — making it suitable to protect sensitive products such as coffee and medical products, while still being possible to recycle. The additive will provide plastics with much better abilities to block gases such as oxygen, but can be identified and separated at the recycling stage.
If your business needs help with its plastic recycling then contact us today and we can provide some friendly free advice or even a free quote. Use the form below to get started.