Skip to comments.Those much maligned plastic grocery bags can run your diesel truck or car
Posted on 02/13/2014 1:37:08 AM PST by Brad from Tennessee
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.
The conversion produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels diesel, for example that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels. Other products, such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils such as engine oil and hydraulic oil also can be obtained from shopping bags.
A report of the new study appears in the journal Fuel Processing Technology.
There are other advantages to the approach, which involves heating the bags in an oxygen-free chamber, a process called pyrolysis, said Brajendra Kumar Sharma, a senior research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center who led the research. The ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.
You can get only 50 to 55 percent fuel from the distillation of petroleum crude oil, Sharma said. But since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation.
Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, according to the Worldwatch Institute. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that only about 13 percent are recycled. The rest of the bags end up in landfills or escape to the wild, blowing across the landscape and entering waterways. . .
(Excerpt) Read more at wattsupwiththat.com ...
ZERO will put a stop to it.
COMMON SENSE will keep it a talking point and go no further.
It makes sense in that the bags are made from petroleum in the first place. On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense in that a good percentage of these bags are used multiple times now. We save and reuse every one we bring home for something. I’ve used them as landscape barrier, garden produce bags, lined pots for planting, trash can liner, dirty clothes bags, gym bag, lunch bag, recycling bag, carry bags for Christmas presents, a rain hat (long story), dry bag for camping, fish “creel”, a portalet (another long story), tailgating. That’s what I can think of in recent months. We have an elastic tube thingy we stuff them in the top and then you pull one out the bottom. If we didn’t have these as a resource, we would likely buy a box of news ones.
In short, there is probably lower hanging fruit in the alternative fuels category.
Dog poop bags!
The problem seems to be that the mass of those bags is spread out thinly over a huge area, difficult to access/collect. What can be done about that (and still keep the recycling concept economically viable)?
Plus, the total mass is pretty low. I seem to be shopping almost daily, and accumulate quite a collection of those thin plastic bags over a month or two. Stuffed "tight" into a narrow cabinet as they arrive, and occasionally removed to be recycled. I am amazed at how many of them can be compressed into one of their brethren, and that narrow cabinet full is reduced to two or three bags "full". Even those are featherweight. I'd guess maybe a cup of fuel.
Not to say they shouldn't be recycled and put to best use, but in this household, the mass of (waste, empty) milk jugs is much greater than the mass of plastic shopping bags.
0bama's plan is trash the economy and a producer culture and turn us all into people shuffle down the road collecting plastic bags made in China out of the ditch to recycle into Jet A for Air Force One.
“...carry bags for Christmas presents, a rain hat (long story), dry bag for camping, fish creel, a portalet (another long story)...”
Well yeah - but that only took one bag.
Around here I just found out that you can shove them all into one bag and toss it in the bin of recyclables rather than taking them back to the store. We still end up with tons extra after using them for all of the other things you mentioned. (Portalet too if you count baby diapers!)
Or just give them to Robert in Tennessee - he eats 16 bags a week!
I live right on the edge of Austin city limits and we no longer shop in Austin because of the bag ban. Toting your own bags to go shopping is idiotic.
* Double bagging recommended
My super market, Gian Teagle, has a collection bin for plastic bags. I use a few at home for lining my office waste basket, and for cat poop, but most get returned to the store’s bin. I hope they’re used for a good purpose! I think I’ll ask the store’s manager what is done with them.
Burn them when you burn your old car tires.
Yep. Kittie poop scoops; but the little holes that mysteriously form in the bottom of a lot of the bags makes double bagging necessary. Trails of kitty litter across the floor otherwise; and our kitty tends to spread enough litter from her litterbox by herself.
Yours too? I invested in an enclosed box recently to try and limit the problem and now there’s only a 4’ long line of litter outside the opening to clean up... :(
Where I live, I do the same thing. In fact, I've cut back my business severely in those cities even when no bags or bag fees are involved at all.
My wife and I use the same bag over and over again. We’re probably way more green than the lunatics that believe in the Global Warming/Climate Change/Disruptification Scam.
I cringe whenever I see the word “environmentalist”. I think of Socialists carrying signs, wanting to steal our freedoms, and believing that fire will come out of their water faucets if we take natural gas out of the ground.
We have an epidemic of stink bugs in Maryland. Whenever you open your door, one or more fly in. If you smash them, it stinks up the house. So when I see one inside the house, I put a plastic bag over my hand, pick up the bug, and tie it into the bag to suffocate in the trash can. No smell! The long bags that hold the newspaper delivery are ideal.
Laudable, but I’m betting few people do that/few stores offer the opportunity.
The article states many end up in landfills. Makes sense to me - I often “recycle” the bags by using them for trash.
What sucks is when people just dump them “where ever”.
“The article states many end up in landfills.”
As do regular trash bags.
Exactly. I forgot to include that thought that earlier. A good percentage of all plastic bags are likely trash bags that end up by design in a landfill or other waste processing installation.
And trash bags are a lot thicker, and will take a lot longer to break down, unless they’re designed to do so???????
And give up my free trash bags?