While plastic water bottles are rather simple to recycle, other low-grade plastics such as plastic bags usually wind up in the landfill. That’s because it’s hard to turn low-grade plastics into anything of value. Plus, they often get tangled in the sorting equipment of recycling centers, causing costly damage or delays.
Enter Renewology, a new technology that can turn low-grade plastics into usable fuel. Armed with an MIT education and pinpoint focus, the creators of Renewology designed a recycling system that can be built on-site, specific to the needs of the waste management company, with no pollution. With this method, Renewlogy’s systems can process up to 10 tons of plastic waste daily without the need for additional transportation costs and the fuel emissions that go along with it.
Like standard recycling centers, the process begins with the collection and delivery of materials. Once onsite, the commingled plastic heads into the hopper where it is shredded into smaller pieces. Through a proprietary chemical process, the materials are then converted into high-value products used to make virgin plastic, diesel fuel, and other petrochemical products. Gases offset throughout the process are captured and recycled so there are no toxic emissions.
While this on its own is already incredible, Renewology is not stopping there: the company has created a small-scale version of its technology that can convert waste into fuel on marine vessels collecting plastic from the ocean. In addition, they have developed ReFence, a system that diverts plastics out of rivers before it reaches the ocean. When it comes to solving the problem of ocean plastic, these are the kinds of solutions we need.