Can you turn plastic into powder?

How plastic is made from oil

On the occasion of World Earth Day, this April 22, 2018, the SUEZ Group sends a message to the planet “Today we are able to produce recycled plastic of the same quality as virgin plastic”. This is an opportunity for industries to integrate more and more recycled plastic and thus send a message to the planet. Turning our plastic waste into a resource is just a matter of choice.

Increasing the proportion of recycled plastic in your plastic packaging appears as one of the main objectives that helps to protect the environment and the oceans, while allowing you to improve your energy and environmental performance. It is worth noting that 80 to 90% of energy savings are achieved by producing recycled plastic instead of petroleum-based plastic.

We master all plastic recycling techniques from bottles, plastic films, technical industrial plastics… and even more complex techniques such as the manufacture of recycled plastics suitable for food contact. Our solutions cover the entire value chain to obtain a secondary raw material that meets the highest standards of waste collection and sorting towards its valorization and transformation into new products that can be used directly in industrial production processes (granules, straw and powders) to give them a second life.

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How plastic is made (for children)

And since it is almost invisible, we generally do not consider it harmful. Of course, when it accumulates and becomes visible, we take care to remove it. But dust is most dangerous when it moves freely or settles unnoticed, because that’s when its destructive mission begins. In this article we are going to focus on the risks, causes and solutions of dust in the production sector.

Did you know that dust and microparticles are responsible for the largest costs in global industries and healthcare*? During the production of everyday products such as glass, paper, packaging board or printed materials, dust is the cause of:

Dust is a normal part of everyday life and also of industrial life. But some production processes generate more dust than others. This can occur due to the production or conversion process of the substrate or the production itself.

For example, paper, which contains very many fibers, generates a large amount of dust and trimmings during its transformation into the final product. Meanwhile, the static electricity produced by the movement of substrates attracts these particles like a magnet. (Read more about the effects of dust on paper production).

What plastic is made of

Take good care to separate those containers in the right container, because we tell you about the initiatives to reduce their consumption and production, as well as the surprising ways in which we want to improve the recycling of plastic.

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Unfortunately, not all plastic is recyclable. However, certain types are, and so far, traditional plastic recycling takes advantage of the fact that it melts when heated, so that it can be molded again to make new things, without altering its characteristics too much.

Biocellection is an American startup that wants to revolutionize the recycling of Low Density Polyethylene. That is, the one that makes up the bags of all kinds and that is a challenge for traditional plastic recycling.

To do so, they use a process that converts this polyethylene into other chemical components that can be used in things very different from plastic. Cosmetic cleaners, textile manufacturing or emulsifiers are some of them.

How do they achieve this? First, they break down the plastic into a powder of carbon-based molecules. Then, they introduce it into a bioreactor with genetically modified bacteria. This modification allows them to secrete, from this plastic, a lipid that can emulsify or clean.

Homemade plastic recycling machine

Juan Camilo Solarte Torres, a Chemical Engineering student at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) Manizales campus, is working on a project that seeks to reuse plastic waste such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), from which most conventional water bottles are made, and organic waste such as coffee husks, banana rachis and coconut shells, to obtain a more resistant wood that has less environmental impact.

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The student proposes to improve the manufacture of plastic wood that is currently on the market, mixing the plastic with biomass recovered from organic waste of the native products of the Coffee Region.

To manufacture the wood plastic molds, 85% of PET is mixed with 15% of organic biomass from any of the selected natural products. To obtain the biomass, the student relied on products from the region such as coffee and banana, and also tested coconut shells, since this is used in large quantities as raw material in a candy industry in Manizales.