Plastic grocery bags have been leaving us in a social conundrum for the last sixty years. On one hand, they are dead useful and are used extensively in industry and homes alike, and we simply haven’t learned to live without them ever since. But, on the other hand, they are the singular cause of urban pollution that is extremely hard to get rid of. They can’t be burned, recycled or processed that easily, and they keep lying around giving an unhygienic, dirty look for decades. There are numerous environmental conservation initiatives that aim to reduce the amount of plastic bag pollution that hamper our water supply and general outlook of the cities. They include spinning plastic bags into wires or threads for making garments or chemically altering the nature of the Polyethene molecule into something else. This Japanese inventor has found a way to convert plastic bags as well as other plastic stuff like bottles and caps into petroleum. It has been named Carbon-negative system, and it is being marketed by Blest Corporation.
It may seem like a simple backward reaction to getting the fuel because plastic bags are made from petroleum in the first place. But, the kind of Hydrocarbons we get are not the same ones used in the initial reaction that produced these bags. These can only be used to heat the home in winters or boil water and things like that. The machine first heats the plastic up into vapors and converts them into fuel using condensation. The inflammable liquid can then be used to heat our homes.
A similar process has been initiated outside Washington D.C where a large power plant is testing the use of this resulting fuel into energy for the masses. This one from Japan is a simple enough converter that is planned to be introduced to homes. Two pounds of plastic material can convert into one quart of oil using just one unit of electricity. So, it is better in those countries where the electric power is cheap. We can also further process it to create gasoline, but we doubt it will reach break-even in energy terms.
But, most home users will be deterred by the initial cost which is reportedly around 10,000$ at the moment. The inventor believes that the cost will be eventually reduced as the demand increases. Nevertheless, a good attempt to do something about the plastic waste. We know how even after billions of years, these plastics won’t be chemically broken into simpler materials.