The real solution is to reduce consumption and push the packaging waste costs back on the companies making the products.
Local facilities probably wouldn't pay as margins are so thin - it depends on sending to parts of the world that are cheap. The parts of the world that have few environmental laws or enforcement and where cutting corners is too easy.
Totally agree on the real solution. Recycling came about in part thanks to companies working hard to promote it as a means of externalising another cost in place of reuse.
And to embrace landfill. People became conditioned to think how bad it was to bury mountains of garbage (which it is), but it's far better than pumping it into the air or waterways.
Isn’t they simply individuals throwing their trash into waterways and it makes it to the ocean?
But modern industrial incinerators are another sort of beast. They burn hot enough to tear apart most of the nasty shit and burn that too.
Essentially you "burn" the waste within a molten salt bath and get "synthesis gas" (mix of CO and H2) out. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syngas Feed that through a water column to get CO2 and more H2, send the CO2 to greenhouses or algae and the H2 to fuel cells.
> Molten salt oxidation is a non-flame, thermal process that destroys all organic materials while simultaneously retaining inorganic and hazardous components in the melt. It is used as either hazardous waste treatment(with air) or energy harvesting similar to coal and wood gasification(with steam). The molten salt of choice has been sodium carbonate (m.p 851°C), but other salts can be used. Sulfur, halogens, phosphorus and similar volatile pollutants are oxidized and retained in the melt. Most organic carbon content leaves as relatively pure CO/CO
2/H2/H2O gas (depending on the feed conditions, whether steam or air is used), and the effluent only requires a cold trap and a mild aqueous wash (except mercury-containing wastes). It has been used for safe biological and chemical weapons destruction, and processing waste such as scrap tires where direct incineration/effluent treatment is difficult. The major downside of the process compared to direct incineration is the eventual saturation of the melt by contaminants, and needing reprocessing/replacement.
TDP was sold by Changing World Technologies as a tech that turns any waste into oil by reacting it with water. A cursory inspection reveals that this cannot work out chemically, and it didn't in practice.
The press releases contained scarce details, but did drop a few hints at what's actually going on: Stuff that can hydrolyse, will hydrolyse. This turns fat into fatty acids and glycerol, and protein into amino acids. The second stage decarboxylated the organic acids. In practice, that means fats became "crude oil", proteins became mixtures of amino compounds, and everything else pretty much remained unchanged. They even made up the bullshit term "fertilizer grade amino acids" to hide the fact that this byproduct was worthless and simply dumped. I suspect, the complaints about smell were caused by the amines in the waste stream.
In summary, TDP never worked, and it was oversold. It's not coming back.
MSO is different. The conditions in a molten carbonate are much harsher, so everything breaks down to simple molecules. Dissolved oxygen radicals can oxidize everything, including carbon black. There is no question whether MSO works, it has been positively evaluated for the destruction of very difficult wastes, including explosives and chlorinated pesticides. The question is whether it can be economical for general mixed wastes.
On the other hand my understanding is that MSO is used today actively to deal with e.g. chemical weapons disposal etc.
I'm not qualified to give a detailed answer.
MSO happens at much higher temperatures than TDP but doesn't require pressurization, whereas TPD is essentially a pressure cooker.
Concrete buildings have a 50 year life, but after 50, the concrete becomes aggregates, and this is going to liberate a lot of the plastic binder used.
Binder in concrete is really good, it can help in earthquake zones and fire zones to keep building integrity, its also very possibly useful for penetrating shock events on concrete which some people face. So overall I think it is sound to use known quality plastic fibres in concrete for the additional strength, but we have to beindfull of full life effect: its good for now, it has consequence in 20-50 years time.
(S.O proofreads civil engineering papers on GRP reinforced concrete, earthquakes and fire safety engineering)
However, it surprises me that there aren't applications such as building, roads, ground fill, furniture, etc. where all you need is "a somewhat hard block of stuff" where the quality of the plastic wouldn't be that much of a concern.
Food containers. Small formed inexpensive objects like straws and cutlery. PVC pipes.
Cars have a decent amount of plastic in the interior but still not as a structural element.
Windows, maybe? Though the quality would seem to matter a lot there unless you want partially opaque windows....
Storage containers of all kinds.
Fabrics. From clothes to sofas to window shades to backpacks to fake "pleather". Less and less natural materials are used in fabrics these days.
Signage such as large vinyl billboards or building-covering ads.
Big electric appliances such as vacuum cleaners are mostly plastic these days.
Cables and pipes of all kinds, both indoor and outdoor and under ground. Not big objects, but there are many of them.
Composite materials. Things like Corian (a kind of silica-plastic composite) is popular in kitchens.
You mentioned coatings. So much furniture is industrially coated with polyurethane or similar plastic polymers.
Plastic is absolutely everywhere.
Plexiglass and other brands of acrylic glass.
I personally own tons of plastic crates, I'm just not with them at the moment, so it slipped my mind.
I love that the kid is using his parents actual oven :D
Well done narrative and video. Thank you for sharing this.
Bathroom windows and shower doors? Make it a feature, not a bug.
Personally it feels as if we need a better market for, well, 'not quite perfect' items, for lack of better terminology.
Not having a super shiny perfect shower door is really not the end of the world. It's gonna be covered in limescale in about a week unless you're super meticulous anyway.
It's kind of broken that we have an enormous infrastructure around brand new things whilst buying second hand or refurbished is usually a case of scouring ebay or pawn shops.
I personally find it way more comfortable to be in a sort of ramshackle environment with random bits and bobs. An old country house with idiosyncracies, nothing matches.
A perfect shiny kitchen with all the matching bits and no signs of wear - no thanks!
Benches and outdoor tables and things like that.
My major concern would be rather than this being a last resort, it becomes the first choice.
It should in my view be seen as a failure that we are attempting to make the best of, rather than any kind of success.
Obviously the calculations change once bio plastics start to take over.
Contrast to say, very small bits of sawdust or rocks or metal filings or whatever making their way into wastewater. I'd be interested to know the behaviour of other 'pollutants' i.e. materials that aren't especially toxic but modify the environment regardless.
You can't rely on it all being recycled by virtue of it simply existing - we seemingly don't have a solution for microplastics in clothes for example, but also, every item of plastic litter is in the environment "forever" - imagine 200 years of people chucking the odd thing out of the window, car tires, carpets, etc.
So whilst this seems to be a good solution for recycling, it may not be a good idea to allow plastic use to continue ballooning, and if you look at it through that lens we don't actually want to make disposal too cheap.
I know human nature though. Once that shiny expensive incinerator is built, people will want to use it, for everything, and they'll rebrand it 'smart' incinerating so they can tell themselves its the 'good' solution, and pretty soon we're using more plastic than before, and releasing more co2 than before, so my support (which I do have) is very measured.
I covered bio plastics with
"Obviously the calculations change once bio plastics start to take over"
It’s is substituting one fossil fuel product that is buried in the ground with a fissile fuel that’s about to be tossed in the ocean.
Would it be better to recycle said fissile fuel? Somewhat , but recycling is very hard and is not going to happen any time soon.
 recycling the plastic is only better if you also substitute the need to burn most any fissile fuels (since you could always make CH4 from the plastic) We’re not there yet, so burning plastic is probably the best we can do using scalable, easily accessible and proven technology.
Except one works but gives people the geebee geebes. The other one makes us forget our opulent consumption but doesn’t work and kills marine life.
New concept - make infinite garbage - burn that shit.
Good to know it's "smart" incineration - not the bad old kind. Like "clean coal" - not the bad old dirty coal.
Good news for packaging industry - infinite demand to burn stuff up to make energy.