Printer Friendly

Separating plastics for future use.

A major barrier to recycling the billions of plastic soda bottles emptied by thirsty consumers each year has been overcome. A new process makes possible high-precision separation of plastic wastes so incompatible that small amounts of one would contaminate 500 tons of the other. Millions of pounds of plastic waste thus can be diverted from landfills to become reusable products.

"The problems limiting greater recycling and reuse of plastic waste are partly simple physical problems of separating one type of plastic from another," explains John Maczko of Recovery Processes international, Saft Lake City, Utah. "But separation is an extraordinarily difficult [process] that hinders nationwide efforts to recycle and reuse plastics. We have solved that problem for one of most common kinds of plastic used in consumer products.'

The plastic is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a clear, tough, non-toxic material used to make virtually all plastic soda bottles. By one estimate, Americans empty more than 2,000,000 plastic bottles every hour of every day. Many of these are PET, which also is used in containers for vegetable oil and certain other goods. Since plastic require long periods of time to disintegrate and take up a large volume of space in landfills, finding ways to recycle them - and manufacture biodegradable types - have become important national environmental priorities.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Society for the Advancement of Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Previous Article:E.T., phone earth - and provide a translation.
Next Article:Tomorrow's cars may run on propane.

Related Articles
DuPont promotes recycling joint venture for both plastic polymers and paper waste.
Opportunities take shape in recycling.
What's new in recycling.
Wanted: low-cost recycle sortation.
Converting plastics into oil.
The Fine Art Of Separation.
Can't sell your new recycling concept? Put it into production yourself!
Stamp down on use of plastic bottles in the fight to preserve environment.
Lifting the lid on your recycling box bottles; sponsored by Environment Agency.
Arteko serves the environment.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters