Tons of plastic end up in the ocean. National Geographic estimates about 8 million tonnes find their way there every year.
The Plastic Bank has been working to prevent plastic build-up by paying people in poor nations to gather it, so it becomes a valuable commodity instead of garbage. They’ve taught corporations to recycle and reuse it, thereby making it important to them, too.
Now a research team at Washington State University has developed a way to convert plastic junk into jet fuel. (Read about it in detail HERE.) They used plastic bags, bottles and milk cartons, reduced them into bits about the size of a grain of rice and used heat and carbon to release their stored hydrogen through a process known as pyrolysis. British Airways has already been studying how to convert garbage into fuel. This could be the future of flying.
It could also be the future of farming. The resulting product after pyrolysis is actually diesel fuel that must be converted into jet fuel. Farmers – and truckers and others – could use the diesel from discarded plastic. How cool is that? It’s probably too much to hope for a discount on an airline ticket in exchange for turning in empty water bottles, but we can dream!