Plastic With a Purpose

We throw away over 3.5 million tons of trash a day, which ends up sitting in landfills all around the world! While some types of packaging, like glass, paper, and cardboard, can be recycled, most waste is created from substances that are not as easily broken down. IBM, a company in California, realized that this was a problem and came up with a system that allows for more types of materials to be recycled and reused!

A team of engineers at IBM invented a machine called VolCat that breaks down fabrics and disposable plastics using heat and a small amount pressure. VolCat can turn plastic objects, like toys, buckets, grocery bags, and eating utensils, into a white powder using a special chemical process that grinds up the plastic. The powder is then used as a main ingredient for many types of food packaging! VolCat can also repurpose households fabrics, like carpets and clothing. It breaks down the material into balls of cotton that can be used to make new cloth-based products. In the future, IBM hopes that the VolCat recycling method can be used to eliminate a majority of waste that is created every year!

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(Image Credit: Waste360)

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