This is an innovative solution I just came across for being able to recycle plastics that typically just end up in landfills or incinerated. This company, MBA Polymers, is mining landfills for plastics and using extremely sophisticated technology to sort and recycle the plastics.
I am in favor of limiting the use of plastic in my life as much as possible because of plastic’s negative environmental impact and potential health risks. However, I know there are many beneficial uses of plastic. For example, using plastic for car bodies makes them lighter and require less energy, which means less fossil fuels for older cars and electric cars that can travel longer distances on a single charge. So, for all the beneficial uses of plastic, I am really excited to see such a large-scale provider of recycled plastic emerge. This means manufacturers can purchase their raw plastic for their products from MBA Polymers, instead of purchasing virgin plastic from other providers. The more we can use the same plastic over and over, the less new plastic we need to create and introduce into our environment. I think this is a big step in the right direction!
Future steps forward will include the creation of more plant-based plastics, instead of petroleum-based plastics. During mine and Melanie’s yearlong experiment of living with less plastic, we discovered that most recyclers couldn’t process plant-based plastics, because they couldn’t properly be identified, sorted, and recycled with current equipment. However, it sounds like MBA Polymers is set up to be able to handle a complex array of different and new plastics as they are developed. So, ideally in the future we can get all the benefits of plastic with plant-based, healthy plastics that can be easily recycled and used over and over for new products.
Dr. Michael Biddle, the founder of MBA Polymers, won the prestigious 2010 Innovation Award for Energy and the Environment from the Economist. Here is an interview of Dr. Biddle on CNBC:
Here is an overview video of MBA Polymers:
So what do you think? Is this a step in the right direction?