A machine recycles all types of plastic waste and turns it back into a hydrocarbon.
Plaxx can be used to produce virgin plastic, as a fuel for marine engines, or to make wax and coatings.
After an initial preparation phase, the plastic is shredded and dried. This raw material is then heated to 500 °C under pressure inside a thermal cracker where the long carbon chains are cracked into shorter chains. The hydrocarbon vapor which results from the process is filtered and treated and then condensed to become Plaxx. Depending on its texture, the precious liquid can be used to produce virgin plastic, marine engine and industrial machinery fuel, or be used to make wax or candles!
Recycling Technologies now wants to produce its RT7000 - designed to be transportable, modular and assembled on-site - on a large scale and lease it to manufacturers. Although its founder Adrien Griffiths is driven by the desire to reduce plastic pollution, he is aware that recycling this waste must be profitable.
Finding the profit in recycling
Today only 10% of plastic waste is recycled because it is often cheaper to produce virgin plastic. The remaining 90% is incinerated, dumped in landfills, or abandoned in the oceans with the devastating consequences we are all well aware of. As the report The New Plastics Economy issued by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation emphasizes, making recycling economically viable is a real challenge.
The machine developed by Griffiths and his team is capable of handling all types of plastics, including complex or soiled packaging. It operates without the need to sort, which is one of the obstacles to making recycling economically viable. The project therefore makes it possible to process materials that are usually difficult to recycle - but profitably!