An Invention That Converts Plastic Back Into Oil Is Changing The Way We Think About Trash


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Categories: Education

This video brief about the invention of a plastic-to-oil converting machine went viral and exceeded 3.7 million views on YouTube.

This is evidence that concern over “the plastic problem” is certainly not going away, despite encouraging bans on and decreases in the use of plastic shopping bags.

Here on Our World, on the video’s YouTube page and those of re-posters too, as well as on the hot Reddit Science link, the topic has generated much interest and debate amongst commenters.

Many think that this type of recycling is not a solution, but that instead the world should be seriously focused on the first “R” — which is reduce. We should shun single-use plastic (such as your average PET bottle or disposable container) altogether, they argue. The world’s oil resources are diminishing; does technology like this enable our denial of that fact, or is it a hopeful and constructive step in the right direction?

Others are doubtful of the conversion process and have concerns about pollution or toxic residue. But the machine actually uses highly efficient but pretty straightforward pyrolysis: the plastic is fed into the pressurized oxygen-free oven and heated to 427° C (800°F), which liquefies it. The machine then converts the liquefied plastic to gas, which condenses to form a crude oil mixture of gasoline, diesel, kerosene and heavy oil. Blest tells us that, if the proper materials are fed into the machine (i.e., polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene — PP, PE,  PS plastics), there is no toxic substance produced and the small amount of inert char residue that may be leftover can be disposed of with regular garbage.


They also explain that while methane, ethane, propane and butane gasses are released in the process, the machine is equipped with an off-gas filter that disintegrates these gases into water and carbon.

Lastly, commentators from around the world are anxious to know if and where they can purchase a machine. Though the company still mainly produces larger, industrial-use machines, Blest Co. will be more than happy to hear from you. Please contact them directly at info@blest.co.jp.

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