Plastic Recycling Innovation ⚙️
Plastic Recycling Innovation ⚙️: Australia has had a problem with waste for quite some time now. Every day, we find tonnes and tonnes of waste finding their way into landfills – approximately about the size of 3 or 4 basketball courts. 2018 certainly did not help us with China now refusing the world’s (Australia certainly included) waste. But in that same year, something innovative was launched.
In 2018, Australia launched the world’s first micro-recycling factory. What is it? What does it do? Is it something that can eradicate waste completely? We will discuss everything with you in this blog. Read on to learn more.
A Bit About Waster
Before we discuss plastic recycling innovation, let me share with you more information about Waster.
We here at Waster provide you with innovative solutions for you and your business’s waste management and recycling needs. Furthermore, we provide flexible, 30-day contracts instead of the typical lock-in contracts, which proves to be better.
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Discussing This Plastic Recycling Innovation
We finally have the solution we need to counter our lingering waste problem here. We can now find it and rely on micro-recycling factories to deal with plastics which includes e-waste, as well.
In particular, these micro-recycling factories were developed by the team at UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT Centre, for short). Furthermore, for everyone’s information, Professor Veena Sahajwalla spearheaded the creation of the plastic recycling innovation Australia experiences today.
In general, what these types of technology do is they take in different waste streams and transform it into useful materials. These waste streams include e-waste, plastic, timber, and glass at the moment.
How Can These Micro-Recycling Further Help Us?
Aside from it obviously reducing waste from going into landfills and turning it into something more useful, we can find other benefits from it. First, this plastic recycling innovation movement can provide new jobs for people. Additionally, it moves away from the usual often too large and inflexible factories. These micro-recycling factories are extremely small and can be easily located wherever they need to be – places with lots of accumulated waste.
Lastly, with this, we will never need to rely (or at least lessen relying) on importing filaments from other countries. That is because the micro-recycling factory can also produce high-quality filaments used for 3D printing.
Innovative Ways To Recycle… One Module At A Time
Also, unlike the usual factories, these micro-recycling factories consist of one or more machine that can transform waste products into something useful or new.
For example, we will go and discuss the e-waste micro-recycling factory we are talking about earlier. In particular, it reforms discarded computers, mobile phones and printers and has small modules which can fit into a small space. As for the process, the discarded devices are first placed into a module to break them down.
After that comes the next module. The next module may involve a special robot to identify and extract useful parts. This plastic recycling innovation process then involves another module. This module specifically involves using a small furnace which transforms the said useful parts into valuable materials by using controlled temperature through pure and honest research.
The materials include metal alloys and a range of micro materials used in industrial-grade ceramics. As for the specific quality plastics from computers, printers and other discarded sources, they can be put through another module that produces filaments suitable for 3D-printing applications. Finally, metal alloys are used as metal components for new or existing manufacturing processes.
Is There Any Problem With This Recycling Innovation?
You may wonder, with all of the positives this plastic, glass, timber, and e-waste recycling innovation has, does it also have negatives? The answer is yes, it does have one problem.
The main problem, like any other problem, is its high cost. The completed version of a micro-recycling factory ranges up to 1 million dollars. But as stated above, if in case a local council cannot afford the completed factory, it can opt to utilise one very much-needed module.
They can then upgrade the micro-recycling factory if needed at a later time.
For this to work, we also need to be more responsible for our produced waste. Lessen waste as much as possible. Throw your rubbish into the appropriate bin. If it is recyclable, throw it in the recycling bin. Never throw recyclables in the general waste bin so it would not go into landfills.
Plastic Recycling Innovation: Quick Conclusion
Expect more of these plastic recycling innovation a.k.a. micro-recycling factories in the future for more sustainable and affordable resource recovery and recycling. It is still a relatively new project, after all. But even with its freshness, it still shows so much promise. We here at Waster can’t wait to see it!
What should we try to change with recycling innovations in 2020?
We have asked some engaged green business people what they would like to change with recycling innovations to counter waste such as paper, plastic, and more. And, these are the responses they gave:
Should recycling be mandatory?
One person in the UK feels very passionately about recycling and argues that it should be mandatory to recycle. Kirsten at makemeasuccess.co.uk has launched a petition for change which you can access here.
She explains: “My ideal future would be one where we start making changes as a nation today! I’ve recently launched a petition to ask that legislation is introduced to oblige businesses in the UK to use either recyclable or biodegradable packaging. This is possible with some changes and research into alternative resources. “
Standardisation of basic services
Luke from Compass Studio – a marketing consultancy which helps sustainable brands and businesses would like to see standardisation of services. Check out our blog on how chemical waste recycling can boost plastic recycling rates in 2020.
“We would like to see a national standardisation in recycling bins around Australia. What you can and can’t recycle changes is pretty much every suburb. So standardising this around the country would mean it would make recycling a more effortless process no matter where you are.”
“We would also like to see Seabin’s facilities located in all harbours, ports, marina’s around the world. We have bins everywhere on land, but none in the sea? It doesn’t make sense given the amount of garbage that ends up in our waterways.”
Make recycling local and practical
Angela Thompson is dedicated to recycling – and would love to do more:
“But I feel like there’s a lot of wasted space in recycling bags and bins. I wish there was a way to flatten the containers to they took up less space. It would be amazing if you could turn those containers into something right at your house — like turning wine bottles into wine glasses or something.”
“After a good party, we’re always down a couple of wine glasses, so why not turn those empties into new glasses?!”
A focus on the construction sector
Robyn at Select Custom Joinery came up with some really practical ideas:
“Green waste/compost pick-up – stop the green waste going into bins.”
“Soft plastics recycling – it’s available – but only in limited supply.”
“Incentives for people to fix electronic/electrical equipment, rather than dump and buy new, cheaper – they do it in Europe – we need to do it here. Why it is cheaper to buy a new printer than buying cartridges? I’ve had a computer technician told me to ‘Just buy another printer, I have about 8, I buy a new one when the cartridges run out.”
“Construction and joinery waste is huge. We need to encourage the use of sustainable building materials and find ways to deal with offcuts in a sustainable manner. Large joinery workshops fill-up skip bins on a daily basis with waste. “
“Incentives for the industry to provide truly sustainable solutions – sustainably sourced, manufactured and durable over the long term. Incentives for consumers to purchase sustainable products and materials. “
“Taxes on low cost, poor quality items with short shelf lives that go to landfill.”
Think about the bigger picture
Aleh at Planetarians.com highlighted the waste involved in agriculture and farming – “But do you know that, before you even start thinking of wasting – animal agriculture already wasted 90% of grown crops?”
“Do you know, that 93% of calories fed to cattle lost for humans?”
This is a very important fact to keep in mind as a truly green society needs to think about all aspects.
Thinking outside the box
Jane from Paul’s Rubbish Removal Melbourne really looked to the future and listed what she would like to see as a long term objective:
1) “A new recycling process that turns plastic waste into a biodegradable material without any harm for humans, animals and nature. It will be really nice if such a solution could be inexpensive and easy to implement as well.”
2) “Something similar to a reversed 3D printer – a specialised X-ray machine that can detect and separate waste depending on the material it is made of. A completely automated process powered up by green energy.”
3) “A fashion line created and supported by famous designers, containing clothes made only from old recycled fabrics.”
4) “A production line for quality building supplies – bricks, roof tiles, floor coverings – using only different types of waste as a raw material.”
More of a focus on timber recycling
Mark from ecoeffective.com.au wanted to see more of a drive to recycle timber.
“Recycling Timber responsibly is the key to a healthy planet. Many old homes with beautiful timbers are being trashed by excavators and demolishers as the true value of their timber structures is not understood. Disassembly rather than destruction opens up opportunities for craftspersons, community groups and designers to create and preserve a valuable resource.”
“Even pesticide-treated timbers can have their life extended rather than being directed to a landfill or destroyed. Timber is a sustainable material when supplied from renewable sources. Using Responsible Wood will contribute to a sustainable future on earth.”
To think about
We have really enjoyed these varied ideas on recycling innovations – and hope our industry and society can move in this direction – trying to combat waste such as plastic and all.
If we do not have an objective of where we want to go – we can be sure we will not reach it!
Recycling Technology Innovation: Can BlockChain And Crypto Help Save The Planet?
You already know this by now – we are always looking for recycling technology innovation (that can combat waste such as metals, plastic, paper, etc.) and ways that we can help the environment. In this part of the blog, we will cover a potential idea that would have been complete science fiction only a few short years ago.
In a previous blog on the blockchain (green business), we had looked at the huge energy requirement used by the blockchain process which, according to some accounts, will take up the majority of the world’s energy if the currency continues to grow.
For this reason, we were pleased to see that there are also numerous environmental and recycling applications of the blockchain approach that lead to recycling technology innovation that can deal with the world’s plastic waste or the equivalent.
You can see a video by one of these new companies exploiting this recycling technology innovation as below:
So, How Would Blockchain Help With Recycling Technology Innovation?
If you are like me, the concept of blockchain is not exactly obvious. So, I will seek to explain the recycling benefits as simple as possible in this section of the blog.
No matter what industry or activity the blockchain approach is applied to, it is a way of recording transactions without having one central institution like a central bank or government to regulate them.
The blockchain itself comprises a series of blocks – referring to a certain transaction.
According to the excellent website – theconversation.com:
“Various waste initiatives have seen the potential to incorporate this technology. One is the Plastic Bank, a global recycling venture founded in Canada to reduce plastic waste in developing countries – so far Haiti, Peru, Colombia and the Philippines, with plans to extend this year.”
“The initiative rewards people who bring plastic rubbish to bank recycling centres, and one option is blockchain-secured digital tokens. These can purchase things like food or phone-charging units in any store using the Plastic Bank app.”
“The plastic is meanwhile bought by companies and recycled into new consumer products. The system attracts them because blockchain’s transparency means they can see where their investment goes.”
Other Recycling Technology Innovation Approaches To Counter Waste [Such As Plastic]
The blockchain enables the collection and analysis of huge amounts of information such as where, when, and who collects certain types of waste or recycling commodities.
In a pilot programme run in the Lyon railway station in southern France, “this saved almost €2,000 (£1,746) in one month in one station by facilitating a new system for collecting five different streams of waste separately.”
Does blockchain give anonymity or destroy it?
One of the chief appeals of blockchain – at least I thought so – was the anonymity provided to buyers and sellers. This equates to people who value their privacy and do not want every activity of their life being viewed by credit card companies and banks.
However, one recycling approach is actually the complete opposite.
As we know, illegal dumping is a huge global issue. So, wouldn’t it be great for us to know who was responsible for dumping the waste?
One Idea As Below:
“When goods are produced, responsibility for them could be assigned. This would be recorded as a transaction to be stored in a block on the blockchain, identifying the product and the responsible party. Every time the product was transferred – when it was sold, say, or when it was disposed of in landfill – this would be recorded in a new transaction. This could all be accessed via a QR code stamped on each product.”
“If the product then ended up as litter on a beach somewhere, the blockchain would provide a digital trail to identify who was responsible. It would be up to the government in question to determine where responsibility lay at any given time.”
Call me old fashioned, but this sounds like a horrendous idea – one that would easily outweigh its benefits with the invasion of privacy concerns.
Of course, we also need to work out if the electricity demands of blockchain mean it is something we want to pursue at all.
Plastic Recycling Innovation: All Waster’s Final Thoughts
Recycling has really come a long way. Technology has been a very huge help in this. The important thing to do is focus on what is really needed and double down on that. Plastic recycling innovation was specifically made with this thinking. Expect more from other types of products.
If You Are A Small Or Medium Business…
Are you a small or medium business based in Australia? Are you in need of various waste management and recycling services? How about the shredding and disposal of your private and sensitive documents? Maybe you also need someone to clean your grease trap; Waster offers all of these services!
Examples of our service include general waste, cheap cardboard recycling, commingled recycling, medical waste disposal, secure document shredding, sanitary bins and any other services – many of which could help with the plastic recycling innovation efforts.
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Waster: Things You Need To Know
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