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 🙂
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.
To start, I collected a sample of plastic from the nearby beach. Every type you can imagine is there – thermoplastics, thermosets, textiles, old, new, micro, dirty, degraded.
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