Can plastic be destroyed by burning?

How plastic decomposes in the environment.

“As countries like China close their doors to foreign waste and an overstretched recycling industry fails to keep pace with the plastic pollution crisis, incineration will be an easy alternative that is increasingly used,” explains John Hocevar of Greenpeace.

Incinerating plastic waste to generate energy seems sensible. After all, plastic is composed of hydrocarbons, like petroleum, and is more energy dense than coal. But there are several obstacles to the expansion of waste incineration.

For a start, deciding where to locate waste-to-energy plants is difficult, as with landfills: no one wants to live near a plant that receives hundreds of truckloads of garbage every day. Typically, these plants end up being located near low-income communities. Only one new incineration plant has opened in the United States since 1997.

The plants generate enough electricity to power tens of thousands of homes. But studies have shown that recycling plastic saves more energy – by reducing the need to extract fossil fuel and process it to create new plastic – than incinerating it along with other household waste.

How to burn garbage without polluting

The enzymes thus leave cellulose pulp on one side and clean plastic on the other, Paijit Sangchai, whose company FlexoResearch was named one of the ten most promising companies in 2011 by Time magazine, told Efe.

In addition, separating a ton of pulp with enzymes costs 48,000 dollars, 87 percent less than producing the same amount of polyvinyl acetate, the chemical that is usually used to make adhesive paper.

Sangchai hopes that his revolutionary method for recycling laminated paper will gradually help people in resource-poor nations to stop suffering the effects of the pollution generated by burning the material.

This is precisely what attracted the attention of the World Economic Forum a few months ago, which decided to include FlexoResearch in its list of pioneering technologies because it will help reduce dependence in emerging countries on products that are harmful to health, such as asbestos.

That recognition opened the doors of investors from China, South Korea, Japan, India and Malaysia to Sangchai, but the Thai is in no hurry to do business with his enzymes and stresses that he is not motivated by economic profit.

Non-burning plastic

Your doctor will give you instructions on how to prepare. Talk to your doctor if there is any possibility that you are pregnant and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, allergies and medications you are taking. Your doctor may recommend that you stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or blood thinning agents for several days before your procedure. You may be instructed not to eat or drink anything for several hours before your procedure. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. Arrange for someone to drive you home.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive cancer treatment. It is an image-guided technique that uses heat to destroy cancer cells. RFA uses ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help guide a needle electrode into a cancerous tumor. RFA passes high-frequency electrical currents through the electrode to a grounding pad placed in the body. This creates concentrated heat that destroys cancer cells around the electrode.

Why plastic is burned

Incineration is the complete combustion of organic matter until it is converted into ashes, used in some places for the treatment of waste or garbage: municipal solid waste, hazardous industrial and hospital waste, agricultural waste (whose recovery alternative is shredding), among others. Both incineration and other high-temperature waste treatment processes are described as “thermal treatment”.

Incineration is carried out in furnaces by chemical oxidation in excess of oxygen. Some of the reasons for using this treatment may be the destruction of information (document incinerator) or the destruction of hazardous chemicals or products (organic solid waste incinerator). The combustion products are ash, gases, toxic particles and some with carcinogenic effects,[1][2] as well as heat, which can be used to generate electricity.

First of all, the type of waste to be incinerated must be controlled, we can have a mixture of waste that has not been previously selected (raw waste), in this case combustion is more difficult to control since we have a heterogeneous mixture of materials and part of these may be non-combustible. Another option is that we have already treated the waste previously, to achieve a homogeneous mixture of combustible materials (waste derived fuel), so that the combustion control will be much better.