While the most important "R" in the 3 R's of conservation is the first, "Reduce," perhaps "Recycle" would be more frequently used if it were something we could do in our own homes. I don't just meaning putting your plastic bottles in a separate container on trash night, but what if you could convert your plastic into reusable oil in your own home? Blest, a Japanese company, offers their latest invention for such purposes, turning plastic back into oil which can be used to create gasoline, kerosene, and diesel.
For each kilogram of plastic, the Blest Machine will create one liter of oil, using one kilowatt of electricity. This translates to an approximate cost of 20 U.S. cents per liter of oil. To put these numbers in perspective, It's estimated that 7% of the total world's annual oil production is used to produce and manufacture plastic, which is equivalent to the petroleum consumption level of the entire continent of Africa! This household machine could conserve both plastic and oil by converting polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene (numbers 2-4) into unrefined oil.
Japanese developer and Blest CEO, Akinori Ito's inspiration came when he realized that the outdoor places where he used to play were littered with trash and were no longer enjoyable. Further inspired by the advent of global warming and his observations that highly populated, overcrowded countries like Japan had little space for trash, Ito decided that plastic came from oil, so it probably wouldn't be difficult to convert it back. Thus, his machine was born!
Users simply put plastic into a large container through a hole at the top of the machine. The trash does not have to be broken down; you just put it in as is. With the press of a button, the temperature inside the container rises, the plastic melts, and it becomes a liquid. Gas travels from the container to a smaller container filled with tap water. The tap water cools the gas and turns it into oil. The oil produced is acceptable for burning as it is, but it can be further processed to make gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, which Ito reminds us can be used to power your car, motorbike, generator, boiler, stove, etc. For each kilogram converted to oil about 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide are produced; however, by using electricity and heat, the CO2 can be returned to oil as well, reducing 80% of CO2 emissions.
Ito states, "Even in developing countries, garbage is scattered by uncaring people. In developing countries, even if they care, they don't know how, and so I take this machine and I teach them." Ito claims that this is the only machine of its type portable enough to be transported via plane. To teach the world about recycling plastic into oil, Ito has taken the mahcine to Africa, the Philipines, the Marshall Islands, and elsewhere. He focuses primarily on teaching children because he contends that when a child understands plastic is not garbage, the plastic gets cleaned up. Children want to collect it once they know what can be done with it.
Furthermore, Ito expresses that the CO2 footprint of transporting and producing oil is currently very high; however, "If the whole world were to start doing this, the amount of CO2 would decrease dramatically." Ito no longer calls plastic "garbage," claiming garbage is a "waste," but he now happily refers to plastic as "treasure."
Sources: TheCoolGadgets.com trendhunter.com AkiHabaraNews.com and Our World 2.0