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Our addiction to plastic is catastrophic.
Remnants of our products have spread to every corner of the planet.
The properties that make plastic so useful; cheap, malleable, durable,
also makes it damaging.
Plastic can’t degrade. So the more we make, the more ends up in our environment.
What goes into your recycling bin at home, more than 80 percent
is actually being landfilled or incinerated.
It pollutes the water we drink and the food we eat. It suffocates wildlife.
I don't think anybody anticipated the real problems that plastics were causing.
But innovative companies around the world are working towards a solution.
Plastic waste is a global problem. But it is especially bad in certain parts of Asia.
The plastic waste issue in Thailand is quite bad.
We use a lot of plastic bag and plastic container.
You just use a single use plastic because it's more convenient.
Thailand is one of five Asian countries that combined, contribute more than the rest of
the world to the plastic waste in our oceans.
These countries are experiencing rapid economic growth.
With that comes the benefits of growing consumption,
but also the increasing use of plastic, especially single use plastics,
like shopping bags, straws and food packaging,
which are often tossed away just minutes after buying.
But what if these sorts of products didn’t have to be made from plastic at all?
For anything that you only use for one time biodegradable material could be a better choice.
We are producing biodegradable packaging. Our packaging is made out of cassava starch
and natural fiber together.
It takes six to 12 months to decompose depending on the environment.
The Cassava crop plays a major role in the Thai economy.
It’s not a staple food crop, but it's produced in vast amounts for animal feed
and making things like starch.
The cassava is very easy to grow.
You can grow all year round and in a lot of area in Thailand .
My product can tolerate the temperature from minus 20 to 100 degree.
So with the hot food or with the boiling water
we still can contain that in our packaging.
Our material can work as an insulation. It keeps the temperature
of the food warmer longer than the other material.
The company, Universal Bio Pack, say they make around 100,000 items a month, mainly
for hotels and restaurants with environmental concerns.
Compared to plastic, their products aren’t as malleable or durable and are at least twice
as expensive.
But, using packaging like this could reduce the amount of single use plastics we consume.
So either these kinds of solutions will have to become cheaper to compete with plastic,
or consumers will have to make a difficult choice.
Now our products are more expensive but definitely it's better for environment.
People will have to think differently. Right now if you pay for the plastic, you pay for
only the cost of making the plastic, you don't pay for the cost of making the plastic go
away because the plastic stay 450 years.
On the other side of the world a company is working on just that.
We need to find alternatives to burying our waste into the earth.
Plastic Energy takes waste plastic that can't be recycled today
and converts it into usable oils.
One of the biggest problems with plastics is how many different kinds there are.
The majority of it can’t actually be recycled. And many products use a mix of materials,
which makes it even harder to recycle.
It means most of what we think is recyclable, ends up in the ground.
Mixed plastics is a real problem.
Plastic Energy is targeting these problematic plastics using technology called
Thermal Anaerobic Conversion.
The company heats the plastic to 400 degrees celsius in a system without oxygen.
The plastic waste breaks down into an oil, similar to petroleum extracted from the earth.
For every ton of plastic that we process, we produce around 700 liters of oil.
By converting plastic into a base oil, Plastic Energy is creating a virgin substance that
can be used in many more products.
Some of those oils can be used to make plastic again
or can be used to make commodity fuels.
We can keep moving plastic waste into our facility through our process using our technology
to produce the oils, to produce plastics again. And that's a continual process.
It doesn't have that finite life.
It’s this IP that has helped the company give waste plastic value. It has agreements
to build sites in Asia and by building modular plants they can attach to petrochemical companies
who can use the oil they made from waste.
While this process doesn’t eradicate plastic, it could go a long way in reducing the amount
that ends up in landfill, or floating out to sea.
That material has value and if it's dealt with in the right way, the material that it
goes into the bin can actually arrive back on a shelf, wrapping in your local produce.
This circular economy could prevent more being made
from fossil fuels in the first place.
Companies like Plastic Energy and UBP have different ideas about how to tackle the plastic
crisis. But what they share is a vision of the world where our throwaway culture
is buried for good.
One thing is how we use the plastic or how we can recycle. Eco-friendly material could
be another choice. But I think to overcome the plastic waste problem, we have to do both
at the same time.
We don't have to make materials just from raw materials or materials extracted from
the ground, we can really have a circular process across the board. Not just plastics
but for all types of materials.


Curing Our Plastic Problem

169 分類 收藏
林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 3 月 28 日
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