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Materials Energy

258: Plaxx plastic-recycled oil

Problem:

Incineration of plastic waste is not energy efficient.

Solution:

Since 2011, Adrian Griffiths of Recycling Technologies, Swindon, United Kingdom has been perfecting a machine to break down MPW (mixed plastic waste), a variety of plastic products including cling wrap and electronics, and turn them into Plaxx™, a valuable hydrocarbon product usable materials or energy-producing oil.


The RT7000, a thermal cracker, heats up the waste to 500° C, melting the debris into a vapor. It is then cooled to create one of three different materials: a fuel that can be sold to petrochemical companies, a wax-such as substance that is similar to what ship engines burn or a brown wax that can be used for shoe polish or cosmetics.

Using Plaxx® as feedstock for new polymers allows plastics circularity. In 2019 Tesco, the UK’s leading retailer began to trial RT7000 units in ten of its stores. Modular, they can be moved around.

From 2020, international energy company Total, Recycling Technologies, and global brands Nestlé and Mars joined forces to develop an “innovative” industrial chemical recycling industry in France. Recycling Technologies, with a production capacity of 200 unts per year, plans to install 1,700 units and reach 7 million tpy capacity by 2027.

In January 2020, Nestlé announced that it would cut costs in other parts of its business to buy 2 million tonnes of recycled plastic between now and 2025. This should enable the food giant to meet its goal of reducing its use of virgin plastics by a third.

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