A Mexico-based tech company says it can recycle more than 90 percent of any type of plastic without using water. The new method also reduces costs by half without suffering any loss in quality, representing what could be a revolutionary development for the recycling industry. This green technology can also be used to recycle materials that currently go into landfills, such as styrofoam and polystyrene—both of which take more than 500 years to biodegrade.
Ak Inovex is the company behind these revolutionary recycling methods. Founder Marco Adame developed the process that could mean huge advances in the recycling industry. In current plastic recycling processes, water is used as a coolant. But Adame’s method eliminates the need for water by avoiding severe temperature changes altogether. This is achieved by simply skipping the step of the recycling process where plastic is ground and dehydrated by being heated and then cooled with water. Instead, Adame’s method goes directly to forming the recycled beads of plastic. This means the process uses about half as much energy and also takes up less square footage. The waterless method results in recycled plastic pellets that are a slightly better quality than other methods, which makes the process quite profitable.
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Huge savings in waste water and costs are obvious benefits to this new recycling technology. But one of the most interesting aspects is Adame’s claim that the same machinery, developed especially for his process, can also be used to recycle other materials that would ordinarily go into landfills—like styrofoam, polystyrene, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene(ABS). This would give us the ability to recycle a whole host of items, from fast food coffee cups, packing material, musical instruments, car bumpers, and even Lego bricks.
Currently, Adame’s team has the capability to manage two tons of plastic beads. They are working on increasing their production capacity to 10 tons.
Images via mbeo and Alan Levine, Flickr Creative Commons.