Do you remember the movie Back to the future, when Doc Brown fuelled the DeLorean by throwing the content of a garbage can in? In the ’80s, the idea of using garbage to create energy sounded like science-fiction! And yet…
From fiction to reality
It took some thirty years, and many warnings from the scientific community to witness the realization of this concept: biogas. This fuel, produced by agricultural waste fermentation (vegetal, animal or organic matters) has finally seen the day, intending to help preserving our planet.
Whether by using methanization or incineration, transformation of our domestic waste into energy is an avenue adopted by some European countries such as Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.
“By exploiting its potential to recover energy from waste, Europe could supply 17 million households with electricity and 24 million with heating1.”
As for recyclable materials, a lot of projects are already under way in many industries, worldwide. While some schools of thought are considering eliminating plastics from the planet, others are choosing to recycle them. Creative and practical means have been developed to breathe new life to this material.
Did you know …?
- Plastic bottles are used to illuminate houses in shantytowns.
- Filled with a solution of water and chlorine, a water bottle inserted in a roof makes illuminating a small house (often without windows and electricity) possible.
- Named bottle bulb, this concept delivers 50 watts lighting and reduces energy costs.
- This inexpensive lighting system, with a 5 years life span, has spread to several Third World countries and has even been recognized by United Nations.
- A New Zealand engineer invented a plastic waste recovery process to build house walls. The waste is compacted in large stackable bricks (similar to large Lego bricks)
After centuries of industrialisation and overconsumption, it is clear that while waste piles up, natural resources are depleting. We will not be able to count on them forever in order to fulfil our energy needs. Waste reuse as a source of energy seems to be the solution of the future.
To each their efforts
While the Scandinavians are often cited as an example, Quebec companies are following the path of green industrialisation. While some industries view the process as too complex logistics-wise, Polyform has hoped in on a post-industrial and post consumption recycling service for polystyrene (EPS), polypropylene (EPP) and polyethylene (EPE).
With its own transportation fleet, Polyform collects an impressive amount of plastic waste from customers, distributors and even ecocentres, where you can now dispose of your polystyrene to ensure it’s recycled and revalorized. The collected waste is first brought to the recycling center to be poured in a pelletizer and granulated or extruded. Everything ends up in the form of raw material used to manufacture brand new polystyrene, polypropylene or polyethylene products.
And that's how loop is closed! Remember: every recycled waste represents one less item in the waste field…