The Plastic Plan

Apologies in advance for another somewhat political entry.

Given the current state of everything, there is little hope that the easily available oil reserves won't be exploited until they are eshausted. There is also little hope that anything like the Kyoto protocol will prevent this from happening rather soon. For well-known reasons this is not good at all. So maybe those governments and institutions that care about the environment should try a different strategy: We could move forward with the exploitation of oil reserves, but instead of burning the oil and blowing all the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it could be bound in plastic.

I don't know how much energy is needed to convert oil into plastic, so this would have to be checked first. Also of course the plastic should not be burned itself. It should either be recycled or composted. Or it might be used for things that don't get thrown away quickly, like walls and streets.

As far as I know, the technology for recycling and composting plastic is already working well. The only thing that needs to be done then would be to set up such a system (on a very large scale) and massively support the production of the relevant kind of plastic.

This is the plastic plan. Does it make any sense?


# on 16 January 2012, 05:02

Yes. This is SUCH a great plan. I may write about it in my paper. Do you mind? He he, ha ha.

# on 03 February 2012, 00:24

Hi Holly

I just noticed your comment on this ancient post and thought I'd reply...

1) As far as I know, the technology for recycling plastics is not actually that well developed. While each type of plastic could theoretically be recycled indefinitely, different types of plastics are mixed in the recycling process, meaning the material can only be recycled a limited number of times before it becomes unusable. (I don't have a newer source than La Mantia, F. (2002) Handbook of Plastics Recycling, Shawbury, Rapra Technology Ltd though.)

2) Oil is usually turned into plastic pellets, which are then turned into products. So if all you want to do is use up the oil reserves and you don't know what do with the plastic, just store vast amounts of plastic pellets somewhere until you need them.

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