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5 Exciting Innovations in Plastic Recycling That You Never Knew Existed

5 exciting innovations in plastic recycling that you never knew existedScience is once again helping to pave the way to innovation and in turn reducing waste and helping protect the environment. Here we look at five of the most exciting recycling innovations currently in production or being rolled out as we speak.

1 – PET
PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate and is among the worst offenders when it comes to packaging that plagues our environment. Currently only 50% of PET, commonly found in drinks bottles and food packaging, winds up being recycled while the other half winds up in landfill or littered. However, a team of Japanese researchers have recently uncovered a possible way to break down these plastics with the help of nature itself. The team have unearthed a microorganism with the capability to degrade plastic. The bacteria contain naturally produced enzymes which can break down PET’s tough make up over time. However, the team has stressed that the research is only in early development and tests have only broken down a piece of plastic smaller than the size of a ‘postage stamp’ thus far.

2 – Cigarette Butts
Another problem waste product that litters streets worldwide is the cigarette butt. Currently around 6trn cigarettes are produced every year and a large number are littered after they are used. Cigarette buts are full of dangerous chemicals and are responsible for as many as 1 million deaths of seabirds and 100,000 mammals every year. Researchers in Austria have been investigating possible solutions to this problem material and have discovered a way to repurpose cigarette butts. They suggest that cigarette butts could be encapsulated into material such as asphalt that covers our roads. The material will not only remove a “waste stream” but could also help to reduce thermal conductivity, which will keep roads cooler.

3 – Edible Packaging
While we can’t cut out plastic use all together, there are examples of where we should be seeking to reduce our daily usage. One example of this is that of single-use cutlery such as forks, knives and sporks which are commonly sold with chilled supermarket and takeaway food. An Indian company called Bakeys is aiming to tackle the problem by producing edible cutlery. Made from rice, wheat and grain their cutlery comes in sweet, savoury and plain flavours and have a taste similar to that of a cracker.

4 – Plastic Housing
A social enterprise group called Conceptos Plasticos based in Bogota, Colombia has come up with innovative way to not only tackle plastic waste but also help reduce the countries housing shortfall. According to the groups crowd funding page they are in the process of manufacturing homes, emergency housing, shelters, classrooms and other dwellings from a mixture of recycled plastics. They hope that if the project gathers stream they will be able to help tackle housing deficits of up to 40% in countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.

5 – Fuel
University of Illinois researchers have uncovered a way to make petroleum products such as diesel fuel from the humble plastic shopping bag. Currently an estimated 500 billion – 1 trillion plastic shopping bags are used worldwide and often end up in landfill sites. However, the researchers have developed a way to create fuel for a variety of applications including jet fuel, car fuel and even candle wax. What’s more, it may even be more efficient than traditional diesel. At present, only 55% of petroleum crude oil that is distilled ends up as fuel, however using their newly developed technique researchers have been able to convert roughly 80% into useable fuel.

Here at LSPS, recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state of the art equipment.

To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807, or visit our website for further information.

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