Ocean plastic research
@cymek and I are working in the Precious Plastic & Parley shipping container in the Maldives til May.
While we’re here one of our focuses is learning about ocean plastic, particularly how the extended exposure to saltwater/UV/contamination affects its recyclability with the PP machines.
We’ll share our research below 🙂
Great insight, can you please share more details about temp tweaks ?
We are in elba island and engaging in the same process. Thanks. Fred
Hi just to come back on the fumes.
With @joandarcy there were effectively a lot of misidentification of the plastic polymers we collect on the shore. I have made a little test bench for flotation with the 4 different fluids as mentioned in Precious Plastics documentation. We have narrowed the types of polymers and focus on PP and HDPE now. Our temperatures of injection and extrusion are much lower than the one used in this project and it has really reduced the fumes. I think the oil found in the rope could be from organic matter (assuming you don’t collect in harbors), we leave our material to rinse and bleach with the sun for at least 6 months before trying to recycle it.
Also an ocean waste which is very common but very good to recycle is fish boxes which are either in HDPE or in PP. However, you need an industrial shredder to eat them. Same with all the fish farm piping we receive regularly. We did a lot of mistakes because we listened to what people thought about the composition instead of systematically test a sample. It is better to wait a bit that your sample is melted than to get fumes. Example for HDPE, we don’t go over 145 at the moment and we hope to go under with a better control of what we put in.
Hope this help, good luck in your projects
By the way, since they ware having a sale this weekend, I picked up one of those blowers. For its size, it moves a lot of air. I’ll probably make some version of the hood I described.
For a fume hood, one option could be adapting one of the 4 tube fluorescent shop lights. A lot of shops are switching to LED lighting and you may be able to get one for free from Craigslist or ask an electrician. Maybe add a skirt, hook up a blower (example: https://www.harborfreight.com/3-speed-portable-blower-61729.html ) and some ducting, for around $100 you could have a start of a system.
Perhaps out of scope yet but there is a new low-coast device for plastic type detection on the way (ordering in progress). PP could assist in MP sample – collection, for the Maldives, as a start; and at some point process it. Could be interesting though to know it where comes from and where it goes ( there is a pet project of mine in progress, MP tracker/sensor).
@pauldufour @joandarcy @frogfall and everyone else on here, thank you so much for gathering all this information. This is all encouraging and motivating. I am working on starting a shop in the greater Seattle area just to handle some of the local plastic garbage. But this information is really broadening my sights on what I can do to help in my area and how big of an issue this really is.
In regards to the fuming issue, has anyone looked into adding an exhaust setup to their machines? Who does anyone know the proper amount of air exchanges needed to handle such fumes?
Sample of foams and foils pictured below:
Sample of thermoplastics, marine textile, and thermoset pictured below:
One type in particular that stood out to me was plastic textile commonly used on boats in the form of rope and tarp.
The thing about these materials that I find interesting is that they’re so ubiquitous in coastal communities (at least the ones I’ve visited), but when I speak with people about them, they’re usually surprised to find out that they’re made of plastic.
One issue that’s particularly problematic when it comes to plastic textiles, especially in the ocean, is the fact that they’re made up of such small fibers, which inevitably degrade and pollute the environment over time. Once they’ve degraded, they become much more challenging to manage.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.