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Fine Print

The RESTCo Vision of Resolving Persistent Plastic Pollution

By now, presuming you have read through the other pages on our site related to plastic pollution problems and solutions, you have likely concluded we have put some real thought and effort into the topic. The problems are massive and ubiquitous; the plastics are pervasive and persistent. They are attractive to fish and other wildlife because they imitate food in some respects. Plastics contain toxins and carcinogens. They can't be digested, so if they can't be passed through the digestive tract, they remain with the creature that ate them until death. Microplastics and nanoplastics - whether put into the environment in that form or resulting from flaking and breaking from larger plastic pieces are likely even a greater danger to humans as we will consume them without noticing, and they may be able to move into our bloodstream and organs. Somehow, loading up with nano-carcinogens and parking them in our organs seems like a poor idea to me.

We do need to reduce the amount of plastic going into the wild today and in the future. We fully support efforts to do that. In fact, we have some ideas as to how to further reduce the amount of micro- and nano-plastics going into the environment now which we think deserve serious consideration.

Step 1: Get the Plastic Out of the Wild Environment

Seriously, we have given plastic pollution a 70-year head-start; isn't it time we started doing something about the garbage we have already dumped into nature?

After several years of research and pitching parts of the solution to various environmental organizations, governments and major plastic pollution producers, in 2014/5 RESTCo produced a 3-pager summary of some technologies which could address plastic pollution from the macro scale to the nano scale, and shared it widely. (2017 revision). Not a single government, environmental organization or company responded. That is a resounding 100% cross-sector agreement to ignore the problem as of the end of 2017.

So, we know we're on our own if we want to actually clean up the existing plastic pollution mess.

Step 2: Sort out the mixed plastic

There's some RESTCo 'secret sauce' in this step, but the premise is simple. Different plastics have different physical properties, and those properties can be used to separate different types, and incoming form factors can be recognized to help with pre-sorting. Material which can't be recycled can be processed to make fuel for process heating (e.g. melting plastic for pouring into molds or softening for extrusion).

Step 3: Create value from the waste stream

Where we can process the recovered plastic to a purity level which is saleable in the existing market for post-consumer plastic waste, we would simply package and sell into that market. For the remaining material which has some mixed material, we can use that to produce some specific products for sale (see below). What remains can be transformed into liquid hydrocarbons and solid fuel pellets for process heat.

Next - Step 4: Sell products which bring enhanced value

Types of Plastic
The Science of Plastic Pollution
Media Items on Plastic Pollution
Some Interesting Approaches
Things That Don't Work
Things That Do Work
De-plasticizing the Ocean (2017 RESTCo 3-pager)
Removing microplastic from shoreline/beach (demo)
RESTCo Plastic Pollution Solution
Capturing Micro- and Nano-plastics from the Waste Stream
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