When you burn plastic, you can see that they can be easily burnt down. Not only that, sometimes they also drip some kind of flammable liquid that functions like fuel to the fire.
But burning the plastics directly is not a good choice because the gas may be toxic to our health and also toxic to the environment. In addition, if you burn 1 kg of plastic, you are more likely releasing 3 kg of carbon dioxide or 3 times the amount.
So, are you now wondering how to make use of the flammable liquid you find when burning plastic without the bad effect to the environment and your body? Some of us has already figured out the way to convert plastic into oil. Here they are:
In 2001, Akinori Ito from Japan founded a company because he was motivated by the declining of natural oil reserve and the danger of plastic pollution all over the world. This company concentrated on making machines that could convert plastic to oil in community scale.
This company now is well known all over the world for its plastic-to-oil machines called Blest that comes in any scale. Starting from a 1 kg capacity machine that you can use in your home, until a giant that will digest 2 tons of plastic in 24 hours.
The plastic digesting machines this company produce can convert three kinds of plastics to oil. Those kinds of plastics are polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PS).
From 1 kg of plastic, the Blest machines can produce up to 1 liter of oil. The amount of oil produced however depends on the plastic waste used to produce the oil.
From PP and PE plastics, Blest machines can convert them into a mixed oil containing gasoline equivalent, kerosene equivalent, diesel equivalent, and heavy oil. However, these oils are still mixed and that’s why it is named so.
For further use, Blest also provide the hydrocarbon oil refiner. When the mixed oil is processed into the oil refiner, it will result in Gasoline, Kerosene, Diesel Oil and Heavy Oil Equivalents.
The portion of each refined oil in the mixed oil is: 15-20% gasoline equivalent, 20-30% kerosene equivalent, 20-30% diesel equivalent, and the rest is heavy oil.
From PS plastics, this machine cannot process it into mixed oil like mentioned above. Instead, it will process the plastics into styrenemonomer, styrene dimer and styrene trimer. Those oils can be used as assistant oils, while purified PS oil will result in Styrenemnomer rich, which is raw material for plastic.
By Using this machine, it is estimated to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emission than burning the plastic by one-third. This way, it is about three times safer than burning the plastic waste.
In addition, the toxic smoke can be avoided when using this machine because Blest machines are equipped with hydrocarbon gas filter. The gas filter will decompose hydrocarbon gas into water and carbon dioxide which are more harmless.
This machine is currently still nameless but Muryani, 59 years old waste collector from small city in the south of Indonesia, Blitar, concentrated more in giving name to its oil product. BBM PLast is how he wanted people call the oil product produced from his machine.
BBM Plast is acronym for Bahan Bakar Minyak Plastik, Bahasa Indonesia of Plastic Oil Fuel. This machine has the same function as the Blest machines which convert plastic waste into usable oil.
At first, the grandfather of seven was inspired by his father who always told him that plastic waste can be recycled into more useful things. He was more motivated when he saw the condition of the environment around him, plastic waste was dominating the landfill and nothing to do about it.
He then tried to learn about how to make a machine that will convert plastic waste to more useful things. Although he was only an elementary school graduate, but he proved that it is never too old to learn something and you can learn from anything and anywhere.
“I’d tried so many times but it always came to failure, when eventually in 2009 after so many failures this machine works as what I expected. It can recycle the plastic waste into three kind of fuel,” explained Muryani to Bangsaonline.com. He asked his son who works as a steel welder for help to build the machine.
The difference between this machine and Blest’s machines is that Muryani’s machine can directly separate the oil product into three kinds. The products are the same as the Blest’s which are gasoline equivalent, kerosene equivalent, and diesel equivalent.
In one conversion process, this machine can consume at most 10 kilograms of plastics and produces about 10 liters of oil. “Every distillation process, we can get 6 liters of diesel, 2.5 liters of gasoline, and 1.5 liters of kerosene,” Muryani explained.
He then sells the fuel produced from the plastic to people around his area with lower prices than its equivalent. The gasoline costs Rp 7.000, the diesel costs Rp 6.500, and the kerosene costs Rp 9.500.
The conversion and distillation process itself consumes 4 hours of time and constant 200 degrees Celsius. Muryani explained that he usually does this kind of process twice a day.
But before the plastics are processed into the machine, the plastics need to be sorted and sundried first. “The priority is the clear and colorless plastics. It then need to be sundried first to get it rid of any liquids,” he said.
This machine has given Muryani two awards for innovation, it was chosen as the first winner in local stage and chosen as runner-up in regional stage. People also start to order Muryani to make similar machines for them. However, insist that he doesn’t want to make another machine or sell this one he made before he gets the patent for it.
Nowadays, Muryani still choose to concentrate to his work as waste collector in his daily life. “I choose this job because a waste collector is a hero to me. The reason is because waste is the biggest problem we face today,” said Muryani as quoted by Terasjatim.com.