Plastic Purpose

jet flying above the clouds

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!

2 thoughts on “Plastic Purpose”

  1. Thanks for this – great idea! SO glad to be catching up on your blogs again. And more to the plastics stuff: those people poking fun at eliminating single-use plastics need to grow up. I’m tired of the “what good will banning straws do?” crowd. It starts somewhere – it has to. The cynicism of the older people in my life is making me crazy. My Dad keeps reminding me of the dustbowl conditions in the 30s. But I remind HIM that our carbon levels are at unacceptable rates – are we just supposed to wait it out while countries fry and drown? What’s wrong with taking responsibility and making changes? (Rant over….) I’ve missed you.

    1. Keep fighting the good fight! I have a package of plastic straws from when Derek’s Mom used to visit and needed them because of Parkinson’s. I keep packing and moving them. I’m loathed to throw them out. Partly because of the waste and partly because they remind me of Audrey.

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