From waste to fuel: Invention turns plastic bags back into oil
Two pounds of plastic bags can become a quart of oil — if you're willing to pay the price.
Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Photo: How can I recycle this/Flickr
Japanese inventor Akinori Ito has invented a device that will turn ordinary plastic shopping bags into gasoline, reports the website Clean Technica.
Ito's device came from a simple idea: Plastic bags are made out of oil, so there should be a way to change them back and recapture the energy inside them.
The device melts plastic bags, filters and cools the vapors, then condenses them back into crude oil, which can be used as fuel. An additional step turns the crude oil into gasoline, providing an even more versatile energy source.
Clean Technica reports that Ito's invention uses remarkably little energy to complete this process. Two pounds of plastic bags can be converted into a quart of oil using a single kilowatt of power.
According to the Environmental Literacy Council, between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year. That's a lot of oil that could be reclaimed if devices like this caught on.
Ito envisions the device being used in homes, and in fact, you can buy it from his own Blest Co. Ltd., but the $10,000 price tag might give you pause. But don't worry: Clean Technica reports that Ito hopes to bring prices down if he can increase production and lower his manufacturing costs.