From plastic back to oil

Akinori Ito has invented an amazingly simple (and small, and inexpensive to operate) machine that recycles plastic safely back into the oil from whence it came. In Japan there isn’t a lot of space to spare, much less for garbage dumps. And Japan has no native oil deposits either, so any petroleum — for plastic, fuel and chemicals — must be imported. For those reasons, recycling is a much higher priority there than it is here. Ito’s machine can be used anywhere there is electricity, and converts one kilo of plastic into approximately one litre of oil, using one kilowatt-hour of electricity. I’ve often wished there were some means of disposing safely of all the plastic that gets thrown out along the roadsides where I live, so this machine sounds like something I’d definitely use if it ever became available here. And with tar-sands pollution and the dangers of massive pipelines becoming a greater menace every day, it seems like a much better idea all around.

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