Plastic waste is a huge environmental issue, as still less than 10% of the plastic that is used is recycled. With over 100 million tons of plastic estimated to be in the oceans around the world, there is still much to be done to combat the plastic emergency. Scientists and engineers around the world are coming up with new and innovative ways to recycle waste products. The list below outlines just a few of the most influential evolutions that are changing the recycling industry forever.
There are companies that are currently looking into the possibilities of using a magnetic additive to enhance recycling processes. Specifically, there is a focus on adding in a magnetic additive to plastics, which makes it much easier to identify and separate packing at the recycling stage.
This magnetic additive is completely safe for use in sensitive products like medical supplies. Using this product in plastic packaging would hugely increase the ease and effectiveness of identifying and recycling plastics that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Recycling compactors are by no means a new piece of technology, as they have actually been used in the waste industry for many years. However, recent innovations have made recycling compactors hugely promising.
Recycling compactors are becoming increasingly intelligent, which means that they can be programmed to work best with different materials. This means that recycling compactors are increasingly becoming more effective tools.
Recycling compactors have become more accessible, which makes it possible for a wide range of businesses across industries to access the equipment. This means that it is becoming increasingly possible for businesses to recycle their waste in-house, rather than relying on costly outsourced solutions.
The recycling industry is not only looking for better ways to identify and recycle plastics but what to do with the material once it has been recycled. Plastic roads are a solution to the problem of what to do with recycled materials to prevent the landfill cycle.
There are companies that are already implementing the theory of plastic roads. Using a strategy that involves melting down plastic products and combining this mixture with additives, which is then used to pave road surfaces.
Plastic Street Furniture
One company in Greece is using recycled plastics in a different way altogether. The company is using plastic waste from Greek households, melting it down, and using 3D printing to create street furniture.
Recycled Plastic Eco-Bricks
A company called Ecobrick is another example of how innovation can combine with sustainability to create a truly unique product. The company is using empty plastic bottles, filling these bottles with single-use plastics which are then being formed into the inside of a brick. There is no space left between the plastic bottles and the brick coating, which means that the end product is hugely insulating. These bricks can then be used to build a whole range of different products, from tables to schools to homes.