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Daily news from the Canaries and the islands
   Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line

Recycling
Oil for all
A machine that converts plastic to oil has caught the imagination of the general public.


line
31.10.2012 - Plastic has a particularly bad name for being environmentally unfriendly. Typically made from petroleum, an estimated seven per cent of the worlds annual oil production is used to make it: which is more oil than that consumed by the entire African continent. Its recycle rate is also dismally low and what doesnt end up landfill pollutes the oceans and coastline. Many think we should not produce single-use plastic at all, which the majority of food containers of food and drinks are, for example. However, one small, but determined company has come up with a machine that will not only convert plastic to oil, but that can be manufactured for use in a home or small industrial complex. This means that, theoretically, anyone can turn their rubbish into that precious liquid gold. Makers, Japanese firm Blest, claim it is the safest, cleanest and most user-friendly machine of its kind because it uses a temperature-controlling electric heater instead of a flame. The plastic melts but, since nothing is directly burned, CO2 and other toxins arent released, as they are during incineration. As long as the correct plastics are used, polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene - the so called PP, PE and PS plastics - no toxic substances are produced and any residue is safe to burn with other items. The company also explains that although methane, ethane, propane and butane gases are released in the process, the machine is equipped with a filter that converts these into water and carbon. Whats more, one kilogram of plastic makes almost one litre of oil and costs only a few cents of electricity to produce. Although the device, invented by Akinori Ito, has been around for a while, it has received a publicity boost lately by becoming a popular hit on YouTube. The idea that everyday waste can be made into fuel, which can be used in generators and stoves as it is, or in transport after refinement, has suddenly become very appealing.



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