Plastic bags, disposable and convenient, are used in our everyday lives.
However, most are thrown away after being used once,… and when it becomes waste, it takes hundreds of years to decompose.… threatening life both on land and in the sea.
In South Korea, researchers from the Korea Institute of Energy Research have developed a process to fight against plastic pollution,… by converting plastic bags into high-quality fuel.
Using a process called pyrolysis,… the plastic waste is cut into small pieces, and heated at extremely high temperatures of 400 to 500 degrees Celsius.
This procedure converts the waste back to oil,… the original substance used to make plastic bags.
Of the recycled waste, 62-percent can be reused.
For instance, if one ton of plastic bags is processed,… the machine will produce 620 liters of oil, which can be immediately sold.
The plastic bags can be used without the need to be cleaned or washed beforehand.
The technique is also economically feasible as the gas produced from the process can be used to provide the heat required for the machine.
"This is the first technology developed in South Korea which continuously produces oil from waste plastic bags. It's a continuous process, so it's possible to secure economic feasibility by increasing scale."
The researchers are aiming to scale up the process to dispose of 2 tons of plastic bags a day this year, and up to 10 tons per day starting 2022.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.