What startups in Europe are doing to tackle the microplastic problem

Microplastics are found everywhere, from the tallest mountain peaks and the deepest ocean trenches to within the bodies of human beings. We know microplastics are killing coral reefs and poisoning fish, and potentially posing a risk to our health. We also know that if we want to fix the problem of microplastics, then we have to change the way we deal with plastic waste.

Fortunately, a number of European startups are on a quest to solve the microplastic problem. In Bratislava, a company by the name of Leitner Technologies is using a process of thermal depolymerization to recycle plastic waste into “Plastoil,” low sulfur oil that can be used as fuel machines or for heating.

Meanwhile, in Germany, a company called AKP has built a recycling plant that leverages technology for recycling plastic waste that yields single-origin, new-quality plastics, effectively giving a longer life to recycled plastics. Typically the heat and pressure used to mold plastics during the recycling process limit the ability to create a recycled product of the same quality as the original that was made with virgin resin, but through APK’s new technology, plastic waste can be recycled into something that is just as strong as virgin plastic.

Dutch startup Ioniqa is working on something very similar. Its depolymerisation technology removes impurities, takes out colorants and recycles PET plastic (a common thermoplastic polymer resin) to its original raw materials, making it more attractive for reuse.

Of course, another way to ensure that future generations can see more fish swimming in the sea than plastic is to reduce the use of plastics altogether.  That’s why Dutch startup Straw by Straw is looking to decrease the 36.4 billion plastic drinking straws they say are used in Europe every year by leveraging hollow grain stocks left over from harvest.

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What startups in Europe are doing to tackle the microplastic problem

Microplastics are found everywhere, from the tallest mountain peaks and the deepest ocean trenches to within the bodies of human beings. We know microplastics are killing coral reefs and poisoning fish, and potentially posing a risk to our health. We also know that if we want to fix the problem of microplastics, then we have to change the way we deal with plastic waste.

Fortunately, a number of European startups are on a quest to solve the microplastic problem. In Bratislava, a company by the name of Leitner Technologies is using a process of thermal depolymerization to recycle plastic waste into “Plastoil,” low sulfur oil that can be used as fuel machines or for heating.

Meanwhile, in Germany, a company called AKP has built a recycling plant that leverages technology for recycling plastic waste that yields single-origin, new-quality plastics, effectively giving a longer life to recycled plastics. Typically the heat and pressure used to mold plastics during the recycling process limit the ability to create a recycled product of the same quality as the original that was made with virgin resin, but through APK’s new technology, plastic waste can be recycled into something that is just as strong as virgin plastic.

Dutch startup Ioniqa is working on something very similar. Its depolymerisation technology removes impurities, takes out colorants and recycles PET plastic (a common thermoplastic polymer resin) to its original raw materials, making it more attractive for reuse.

Of course, another way to ensure that future generations can see more fish swimming in the sea than plastic is to reduce the use of plastics altogether.  That’s why Dutch startup Straw by Straw is looking to decrease the 36.4 billion plastic drinking straws they say are used in Europe every year by leveraging hollow grain stocks left over from harvest.

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