This Simple Invention Could Save Our Rivers from Plastic Waste

If the recovery can be completed before the floating plastic garbage enters the ocean, it can be done affordably and with maximum value. The removal and profitable recycling of plastic debris that ends up in rivers is the subject of a research project headed by VTT. The testing grounds are in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Plastic trash that is floating in rivers quickly drifts from its original places, making recovery challenging and expensive. Furthermore, nobody assumes responsibility for the recovery when there is no apparent owner of the problem. When plastic garbage is recovered as soon as possible after it has entered a river, it is simpler and in the best interest of the local community, government, and industry.

If it could be done affordably and if the plastic trash could be converted into useful commodities, floating garbage rafts would be more easily collected. Such a recycling notion is what the two-year Kelmuvex project, led by VTT, wants to achieve.

PET bottles and durable propylene items, including pipes and containers, are recycled in Jakarta, Indonesia, the project’s test location, while other plastic garbage either winds up in landfills with other mixed debris or gets washed into rivers and the ocean.

“In Jakarta, we are examining methods to identify garbage from the air as well as the quantity, kind, and location of waste floating in the river. Together with Finnish businesses, we are developing and testing techniques that will make it possible to recover floating plastic garbage from rivers and use it as a raw material for things like construction materials and fuels. According to Mona Arnold, principal scientist at VTT, “Our goal is to develop circular economy concepts that fit local conditions and can also be applied in other important locations with floating waste issues.”

Making Plastic Composites And Diesel Fuel From River Trash

Business Finland, VTT, and four Finnish enterprises who are a part of the project consortium are the sponsors of the Kelmuvex project: The mechanical oil-spill response technique from Lamor is well recognized. RiverRecycle is creating recycling ideas as well as solutions for eliminating and collecting floating debris. Technology for the process sector is provided by Valmet and Wimao, respectively.

The initiative will also engage regional players who are expanding Jakarta’s waste management.

It is challenging to use floating garbage because of its varied composition. It often consists of a variety of plastic and textile materials, as well as soil and plant matter that have been swept away by protracted rainstorms. To complement the recovery activities, optical sensor devices that may be deployed in a drone or at a permanent position are used for the identification and monitoring of the floating garbage.

Different plastic recycling techniques will also be evaluated, and the technique—or combinations of techniques—that is most suited to the aim will be chosen. One choice is to mechanically recycle plastic garbage by melting it down and molding it into new items, such as those used in the construction sector.

Pyrolysis technique may be used to chemically recycle filthy, hard to sort plastic trash. Long polymer chains in plastic are thermally broken down into pyrolysis oil, which may then be processed into fuel like diesel or even separated into monomers, in the absence of oxygen. The monomers might be used as a source of chemical and plastic raw materials.

Plastic Trash Generated On Land

The profitability of a recycling facility depends on having access to adequate trash quantities in addition to the quality and recycling process. In order to ensure that the recycling facility receives locally collected plastic garbage, which is often landfilled, collaboration with local waste management is crucial.

“As waste management practices advance, attention may move from using plastic trash from land-based sources to garbage rafts on waterways. The created circular economy model will primarily promote regional trash reduction, according to Arnold.

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