A well-known British broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough, showed his support for a new recycling plant that’s set to open in North England next year. Attenborough, who is most known for writing and presenting a nine-episode natural history documentary with BBC called Life, appeared in a video promoting the use of superheated steam to break plastics down to their original elements.
How does the technology work?
This plant uses technology called HydroPRS, which uses steam to heat plastics to the point where the molecular bonds break and the plastic turns into oils and chemicals that can be turned into new products. The technology can be used over and over again on the same product, resulting in virgin-grade materials every time.
Why is this technology better than others?
This technology, which is only 14 years old, can effectively break down all plastic. That’s a big deal. Why? Currently, there are plastics that aren’t recyclable, like plastic bags or flexible plastic film used for packaging. These items go straight to the landfill or are swept up by the wind and land in the ocean.
Then there are plastics that are deemed “unfit” for recycling because they have leftover food stuck on them. These plastics also go to the landfill.
With this new steam-based technology, ALL plastics can be recycled without a problem. From “non-recyclable plastics” to those contaminated by “biodegradable waste,” the consistent heat produced by the steam can turn them into reusable components once again.
When will the plant be operational?
The plant is currently under construction in Teesside, England and will open in late 2022. The company behind the plant, Mura Technology, has a lot of backing – including that of the British government.
Mura Technology says the plant will run 24/7 and ramp-up to recycle one million tons of plastic every year by 2025.
The company believes the technology will be a hit, so much so that there are already plans to build additional plants in Germany, Asia, and the U.S.
Where will the plastics come from for this new plant?
Mura Technology will fuel their plant with leftover recycling material that traditional plants plan to send to the landfill. The material will be shredded, mixed with supercritical water, and turn into usable materials in about 25 minutes.
How big of a problem is plastic pollution?
Simply put, plastic pollution is a huge problem. Experts estimate that eight million pieces of plastic end up in the ocean every. single. day. That’s a staggering amount of plastic. The issue requires innovative solutions, like superheated steam or refill technology, where consumers can stop buying single-use plastics and refill bottles of their favorite products.
Like HydroPRS, refill technology does exist, but retailers don’t think consumers will take the steps necessary to refill bottles. It’s time to tell retailers that you’re ready for a change. Send a clear message by signing this petition.
Together, these cutting-edge solutions have the potential to drastically reduce plastic waste that’s piled high in landfills and floating in the ocean.