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Just another piece of interesting (I think) research, Plasma Pyrolysis.
Wow! It’s been 6 months since I last logged in!
@mathijsstroober I bought a Guppy Friend washing bag. It’s a really fine mesh that feels like silk to touch. But I didn’t find it collected much. Either my clothes didn’t have any fluff (difficult to believe) or it just didn’t work very well! Or I couldn’t see the collected fluff. The bag was also quite small. Good idea though I’m not sure how effective it is.
I tried one of these shredders with rigid plastic containers and thick plastic bags, and had very little success! I think the blade spins too quickly and perpendicular to the material being fed in, so the plastic just bounces off and occasionally makes a tiny chip.
I also tried a paper shredder which appears to have a similar mechanism to PPs shredders. Also no good!
You might have a different style of shredder and have more success though! Good luck.
Washing and drying plastics
Separating plastic flakes from non-plastic flakes
Although I haven’t built any of the equipment yet, I’ve had some thoughts on ways to wash highly contaminated materials.
– Segregate plastics into similarly contaminated batches, right from the beginning
– Remove dust and loose dirt from plastics before using any water
– Use mist and fog to minimise volume of water used
– Slowly tumble plastics so that they rub against each other, removing dirt without much water
– Catch and recirculate all water
– Minimise evaporation and smells, by keeping water surface or water containers covered, and as little hot water as possible
– Use steam on washed plastics, to rinse them of dirty water
– Filter microplastics from waste water, using Nitex screen (or similar), under low water pressure, then bin or burn microplastics
– Use float tanks to move plastics between machinery, similar to a conveyorbelt
– Make sure the bottom of tanks have taps, for easy emptying of sludge
– Store water in flexible bladders, potentially made from recycled sheet plastic
– Store water in used IBC water tanks
– Keep water containers up higher than where the water will be used, so that you can make use of gravity, rather than having to pump the water
– Harvest rainwater from as many neighbouring roofs as possible
– Distill dirty water to clean it (solar distillation, perhaps)
– Construct raised water tanks in a similar way to a raised pond
– Look up how your local hazardous waste companies dispose of liquids, as the sludge is likely to be highly contaminated. Perhaps compress sludge into dry briquettes to be disposed of, somehow!
This is quite a good vid but I do think it can be improved.
So, that’s my (non-expert) thoughts!
Have you had much success progressing this, @clementhempel?
It’d be interesting to know exactly what contaminants could be expected on the plastic packaging and tools (inhalers; syringe barrels, plungers & lids; tubing etc), even if accidentally contaminated. It may be that they’re very easily made risk-free using similar equipment to dental and tattoo sterilising kit. Or even just the heat from washing and/or extruding. I think it’s just radioactive material that would pose a disposal problem. I can’t imagine a syringe cap with blood from even a highly virulent patient will infect the user of the new plastic product. Once the plastic has sat in a bin and any blood has likely dried out, the plastic has then been washed, mixed amongst all the other plastic flakes, and then been heated in an extruder (or similar).
I don’t know if you could collaborate with a local uni or science lab to conduct the research to see if anything hazardous remains in the plastic?
Waste medications are already disposed of by mixing into a jelly and leaving for months to degrade. Perhaps a liquid form could be used to rinse blister packs that have tiny amounts of dust left on them. Wetting powders can be tricky though.
It’d be great if somebody who knows what they are talking about (not me!) could make a recipe book, with all the heating and cooling info!
In the UK it’s possible to sell plastic to some of the big, well established waste companies. e.g. Biffa.
Investing in setting up a network of collection points might be a good first step. That way you have the raw material and can do whatever you want with it: Sell some, recycle some, experiment with developing product ideas. It also means you’re catching plastic that might otherwise end up going to landfill/watercourses/beaches, plus gives you the opportunity to gauge the types and quantities of plastic available. You can stock pile the material until you know how best to recycle it.
A lot of small companies think they are recycling their plastics, but actually the collection companies just burn it. This is a huge waste of resources. The embodied energy and carbon in plastic is huge, so burning it is the worst idea.
I think this is probably one of those ideas that sounds sensible, but has loads of practical complications; How to distribute the energy? How clean is it really? How to dispose of ash? Public support?
Interested to hear what your ideas are though.
Doing up something like this would be cool!! And cheap.
Doing up something like this would be cool!! And cheap. https://trucks.autotrader.co.uk/search/advert/montracon/trailer/3263958833041160710?journey=Search&searchPosition=7&searchPage=2
Mmm, yeah some interesting thoughts there. Thanks
Hire the machine and watch YouTube tutorials!!
You mentioned budget @javierrivera. I’m interested to know how you’re thinking of funding it. I wonder if DEFRA and The Environment Agency might be worth contacting initially to see what plans they have. Michael Gove just announced tackling plastic waste in China using UK foreign aid money, so you may be able to get a research grant, or similar.
It’s possible to rent shipping containers and similar self-storage pods for a fairly small monthly and sometimes weekly fee. It might be worth considering running it out of there initially.
Another approach might be to pair up with an established company and very publicly recycle their plastics. LUSH seem clued up on creating a closed loop. If the project is a success they might look to sponsor, or other companies might like to get involved too.
Hi @clementhempel I had imagined the second machine would make a huge roll of film that could be sent back to the bag producing factory and fed straight back into their machine to produce another load of bags. Their machines would need to be fitted with slightly different parts to cope with the plastic, but I think it’d be worthwhile to get factories using recycled plastic more. The bags I’m talking about are really good quality, not supermarket flimsy things.
Thanks for the suggestions!
I really feel that this is a hugely under valued topic that would have a massive impact on the environment and people’s behaviour.
Retro fitting a closing/opening device to empty bags, made from recycled plastic of course, would instantly switch single use plastic bags to infinitely useable. Well…slight exaggeration!
It’s an area I am focusing on.
Plus people on a different wavelength to the PP enthusiasts have absolutely no interest in running a recycling plant!! Which is fine, as luckily there are plenty of PP enthusiasts!
Just bought a couple of these boxes! £1 each from TESCO. Bargain! Rubbish quality, unsurprisingly.
I have a large box of these molecules. Used them at Uni. If anybody wants me to post them to you just send me a DM. Would be good to get a feel for the plastics and using as moulds. Cheers.
@andyn Yeah cool. Perhaps a single square shape with wide dovetail joints at it’s edges. 3D print it 5 times, one for each wall and another for the base. They’d all interlock to build the crate.
If you need a wider crate, print some extra squares. For a deeper crate, print more.
My two cents, for what it’s worth, is that there should be a greater emphasis on reusing plastic items, before shredding them. That would include repairing or modifying existing plastic items. Shredding them should be the very last resort.
So I wonder if 3D printing and soldering etc could be applied to repairing or modifying your kegs to make them multi-use, rather than their current single use.
If you are redesigning your crates, it might also be worth considering:
– Making them collapsible, but still strong enough to be reused for a long time, reducing shipping costs
– Removing branding or having a space for temporary branding would allow multiple manufacturers/distributors to use them
– Having holes in the sides would reduce the quantity of plastic required for each crate, so you’d get more crates made, plus they’d be lighter weight so easier to handle
– Having a better infrastructure so that crates and kegs can be reused easily, perhaps by having delivery vans also collect used (and collapsed) ones.
Pinterest has some interesting packaging prototypes using cardboard that might be worth using for inspiration!
Good luck with it!
Or perhaps instead of building a massive heat press, somebody could build a small press that moves along a conveyor belt type setup, or perhaps plastic chips on a conveyor belt move under the heater, to make infinitely sized sheets!
Basically like a large laminating machine.
I wonder if it’s possible to DIY a MASSIVE heat press!
‘Stormboard‘ is a sheet material exactly like what you’ve made. It’s manufactured by Protomax, a UK company with factories in Belgium and Poland (I think!). They pour plastic chips onto massive heat presses! Check out their YouTube Vids. They also build cool furniture.
I wonder if Guppyfriend’s washing bag material could be produced (using waste plastic of course!) and made into filters for the waste water pipe on washing machines?
Manufacturers could add the filters, or people could retrofit their own.
What would one do with the collected microfibres though?
Interesting. Perhaps during the sorting stage, materials should be grouped according to their contents. ie Food containers are separated from cleaning product containers etc, then each batch can be thoroughly cleaned before going on to be grouped into plastic types and then shredded. That way, items than are too difficult to clean thoroughly are kept separate and don’t soil the rest of the batch.