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A large percentage of plastics that are sent to recycling facilities cannot be easily turned into new raw materials. Instead, this waste is sent to landfills or is incinerated to obtain energy, emitting large quantities of CO2. Neither solution is a form of recycling, but rather linear processes that some countries are really profiting from. There are promising alternative processes to incineration, such as pyrolysis, with similar efficiency results and minimal environmental impact. Unfortunately, up-scaling processes like these and improving the efficiency of mechanical recycling face a common obstacle: the need for accurate sorting of all plastic waste.
The proposed solution consists of a mechanical system that reduces plastics into small beads of equal size. Later, with a robust algorithm and a combination of sensors, the material is iteratively sorted until a high degree of plastic purity is achieved. We will produce plastic that can be sent to either plastic manufacturers or pyrolysis plants. We will innovate by obtaining our input materials from companies and environmental protection projects that are currently not giving any use to their excess plastic. This way, we will turn useless plastic waste into a highly demanded raw material. We will start with a few types of plastic to validate our sorting design and will up-scale by expanding to a wider range of plastics.
Our mission is to break one of the barriers that plastic recycling is facing today. The use of single-use plastics is expected to decrease in the next decades. Similarly, the use of combustion engine vehicles will decrease as electric vehicles become more efficient. However, plastics are still present in our everyday lives and fuel is still needed for existing vehicles. The transition period we are currently living demands feasible solutions that will eliminate existing plastics and reduce CO2 emissions, shifting away from unsustainable, well-established waste management methods such as the use of landfills or incineration plants and move faster towards a sustainable future.