March 4th, 2021 | Updated on June 28th, 2022
About 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans each year, and by 2050, it is estimated that there will be more pieces of plastic in the water than there are fishes. Given this urgent environmental threat, the waste management industry has been focused on finding efficient and sustainable ways to recycle plastic waste.
Similar to how technology can improve people’s lives, ground-breaking innovations are paving the way for recycling plastic and turning it into commercially-viable products.
How To Dispose Of Plastic Waste
Plastic has become an intrinsic part of people’s lives. It’s in the products we use in everyday life — from toothbrushes and bottled water to the foundation of our cars and homes. As convenient as it is, most plastic is designed for single-use, and is thrown out quickly. In order to save the environment, people must learn how to properly recycle their plastic waste.
How to Dispose note the importance of looking at the bottoms of plastic bottles and containers to see whether they are recyclable or not. Plastic with symbols such as “PET/PETE” and “HDPE” are widely accepted by most waste management or recycling centers.
Before dropping them off, though, make sure to rinse the plastic at least once or twice to remove remnants or contaminants. This can increase the recyclability of plastic waste.
However, individual responsibility is not enough to tackle the problem on its own. Proper plastic waste disposal must happen both at an individual level as well as on a larger scale. As people learn how to properly dispose of their plastic waste, major players in the waste management industry must also find ways to tackle the plastic waste issue to prevent the devastation of our environment.
The Crucial Role Of Robotics And Artificial Intelligence
Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are innovations that can lead to significant improvements in plastic waste management. Using deep-learning algorithms and sensors, AI robots are able to sort through piles of waste more efficiently. They can separate different materials based on composition and configuration, which then makes it easier for human sorters to determine which materials, including plastic waste, can be recycled.
AI robots can sort waste materials at a much faster rate. As such, they can then reduce the typical bottlenecks in landfills. The AI software can also capture and monitor data so that human sorters can increase their safety and efficiency.
Innovations That Transform Plastic Waste
Apart from using AI to address sorting issues in waste facilities, there are other revolutionary innovations that help address the plastic waste issue. A major development involves the use of chemistry to turn plastic waste into new, sustainable, and commercially-viable products.
Using plastic recycling technology, contaminants, odors and colors are removed from polypropylene plastic, which is then turned into resin. The resin is later on combined with additives to create higher-value products. Through this innovation, plastic can be recycled and reused continuously. Thus, it never becomes waste and won’t end up polluting our waters.
Ground-breaking innovations in recycling also include turning plastic waste into energy. Using a distributed modular generation (DMG) recovery system, plastic is shredded, heated and vaporized into hydrogen gases. The hydrogen plant can then provide electricity to local residents and businesses.
This is another way of transforming plastic waste into a newer, more sustainable product. Other factories have leveraged the latest technologies by turning discarded plastic bottles, cigarette butts and chewing gum into clothing, shoes, and other products.
Recycling plastic waste requires commitment and collaboration from all members of society. For significant and lasting change, more people must make an effort in recycling plastic in their own homes. At the same time, companies and manufacturers can take advantage of these ground-breaking innovations to prevent and recycle plastic waste.