Plastic Wastes

Goals

To identify all the ways in which plastic wastes can be reduced, reused, recycled, and broken down (such as with bacteria). This will include examples or scenarios for each of those four categories.

Early Findings

Reduce Plastic Wastes

  • One can reduce plastic usage by buying necessities in bulk. For example, instead of buying two bottles of conditioner every month, one can buy one bottle but in a larger volume. So instead of buying two bottles that are 500mL each, one can simply buy one bottle that's 1L in volume.
  • Buy products that use less packaging or less plastic. In doing this, one encourages companies to only manufacture products that utilize less plastic.
  • Also, one can just buy products that are in biodegradable containers.
  • Plastic wastes can also be reduced if one brings his own shopping bag. This can be used to replace the plastic bags that are being used by some stores.
  • Bring clean containers when going to a bulk food store. There are food stores that make use of the containers the customer brings to hold the items that are purchased in that store.
  • In 2018, the European Commission has called to "ban all single-use plastics in a bid to rid the ocean of plastics." According to the European Commission, "The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs."

Reuse Plastic Wastes

  • Plastic cups or yogurt containers can be used to hold art and craft materials or as containers of paint when painting.
  • Some product plastic containers can be used to freeze food or to refrigerate leftovers.

Recycle Plastic Wastes

  • In a small town in Panama, residents are recycling plastic bottles by using the bottles as materials for constructing a building or condominium.
  • ReDeTec has developed ProtoCycler, a 3D printer that utilizes recycled plastic wastes. ProtoCycler "can be loaded with a variety of plastics such as empty bottles and rejected 3D-printed models where it grinds down recycled plastic into digestible pieces before melting and extruding out spools of plastic filament to be used on the next project."

Break Down Plastic Wastes

  • In 2004, Agilyx which is called Plas2Fuel at that time manufactured reactors that converted "mixed plastic waste into a mixed hydrocarbon product called Agilyx Synthetic Crude Oil."
  • Sehroon Khan of the World Agroforestry Center discovered Aspergillus Tubingensis, "a plastic-eating fungus which dwells in the soil." Aspergillus tubingensis "secretes enzymes onto the surface of plastics which helps breaks down the long polymer chains so notorious for holding plastic together."

Proposed next steps:

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