NPR has a story about a company, JBI, that is converting plastic to oil. They have a machine called the Plastic Eating Monster, which takes “thousands of pounds of shredded milk jugs, water bottles, and grocery bags,” melts it down, vaporizes it, and turns into a usable, standarized fuel.
The company has been getting the plastic from dumps all over the United States, thus reducing the amount of plastic in landfills. In addition, the plastics used are low-quality, dirty, or mixed-plastic types, all plastics that are not usually recycled in other circumstances.
This plan sounds financially viable to me–it costs JBI $10 to produce a barrel of oil, which they can then sell for about $100–but many are skeptical whether converting plastic to oil in this way helps with the bigger issues of our mass consumption of plastic. Certainly, cutting back on plastics is a good place to start with this issue, but I also like to see these kinds of common-sense innovations taking place.
What do you think?