Turning Plastic back to its original form

This is cross posted at SheThought.com

I was thinking about what to write about for this last week of 2010. I decided that a good thing would be to focus on some of the milestones we may have reached this year, or some of the advances in science that have made an impact. I found my first advance in the scientific realm and stopped looking for anything else. I then started doing more looking around to see if what I had discovered was valid. Lo and behold it seemed to be. What I discovered was, at least to me, completely revolutionary, and offered some very interesting potentials for combating two very interesting environmental issues, plastic waste and the need for oil.

Being compassionate for the state of our environment, the need on a large scale and a personal level to leave a softer footprint behind, I felt that this would be a good thing to share. Videos and articles found on websites such as The Story of Stuff have recently made me think even more about how I individually impact my environment. Which is why I have a shed full of plastic, glass and paper awaiting a trip to the nearest recycling center.

The invention I “discovered” after a brief search for new scientific technologies, is the brain child of one Akinori Ito, who works for the Japanese company Blest. They developed a small and very portable machine that converts regular household plastic back into oil. Mr. Ito, being concerned about the environment and the problem with waste in the world, especially third world countries is hoping that this invention can help reduce the amount of plastic waste and regain the natural resource from where it came from. He is hoping that he can teach people, children especially that plastic is has the potential to be a treasure, instead of mere trash.

Even though this invention has been around a little bit, it has gotten little worldwide recognition, at least to my knowledge. Two problems that I see are the cost of the machine and the fact that it is still small scale as far as production output. The information I found also didn’t mention how long the process would take. I suspect not all that long however, considering the amounts of plastic being processed. However the potential practical use is quite obvious and possibly very varied, even though it does have limitations.

As I am of the mind that one of the solutions to solving our planet’s problems is through innovation, education and practicality. Doing things the way we’ve always done, obviously doesn’t work. Waiting on the government or large businesses to solve our environmental problems isn’t going to work all that well either. I think it is going to take people like Mr. Ito and his company to help spur us forwards towards a solution.

I don’t doubt that this plastic to oil converter is not the only technology that is out there. I did find one that seemed to be for larger scale conversions like the Polymer Energy company. What I like about Mr. Ito is that he sees a problem and not only wants to help solve it, but help others solve it as well. Are things like these technologies on the right track to solving some of our energy and environmental issues? I don’t know for sure, but to me it sounds like a step in a positive direction.

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