Ocean plastics are undoubtedly one of the great looming crises for sea life gaining ever more news coverage and demanding new recycling innovations to meet the challenge.
Millions of tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year, sinking to the bottom of the ocean or more likely floating on the surface mixing together in huge rafts and posing a risk to marine and bird life.
Recycling Innovations need now to catch up with that of plastics, which over the past 50 years have become an irreplaceable product in our daily lives. They enable our desire for ever more consumer goods and push forward the frontiers of technology in every industry. Plastic’s amazing flexibility is also matched by its longevity and ability to withstand the elements without breaking down. It’s these factors which are now posing such a challenge in the form of ocean plastics and a world not ready to curb its consumption.
To tackle this challenge, it is absolutely essential we look for recycling innovations coupled with a public and government desire to drive the efficient collection of plastic materials before they end up in the oceans. This has been thrown even more into the spot light with China, one of the global waste dumps of the world, closing its doors to foreign recycled material which had been an essential part of the UK’s waste disposal portfolio.
Impact Innovations have been developing in collaboration with Impact Recycling revolutionary new recycling innovations with the support of the Scottish and UK government to tackle exactly this challenge. The team developing the technology found that the same principles acting on ocean plastics could be harnessed to produce a completely new recycling process. By mimicking the oscillations ocean plastic undergoes Impact Recycling’s technology is able to separate to very high purities two of the most abundant and high value plastic Polyethylene and Polypropylene. These materials once separated can then be reintroduced into the manufacturing economy at a level of quality and purity not yet seen, enabling them to be used in a vastly greater number of products than currently possible.
Government policies alone cannot solve the issue of ocean plastics. It is only by demonstrating the huge economic value that can be extracted from the material through recycling innovations like that developed here, that the challenge facing plastic in the environments can be met.