We all know the saying: ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Well, for Oregon-based start-up, Agilyx, America’s plastic is a barrel full of crude oil.
For the past 18 months, the West coast start-up has been developing a prototype that converts discarded plastic into crude oil. The system, made up of pipes, vessels and heat, cooks the plastic down to a vaporous gas, condenses the vapor, and then converts it into different types of oil.
Two trillion tons of plastic currently sit in America’s landfills, and 243 million tons of solid waste accumulate on top of that each year— a 36% increase since 1960.
According to Agilyx, around 10 pounds of plastic will produce one barrel of oil, and each individual system can process up to 40,000 pounds of plastic per day. Based on current oil costs, it’s been suggested that producing oil from plastic will reduce barrel costs by around $40.
Although the commercial version won’t be on sale until mid-2012, ‘resource recovery’ systems such as this have the potential to influence the way Americans and others around the world view waste management and recycling. Why diminish raw materials when we can reuse instead?