TED Conversations

Julie Nawfal

This conversation is closed.

How can we improve plastic recycling ?

Hi everyone!
I am student in plastics engineering and am interested in plastics recycling.
As you probably know, the most popular drawback of plastic is that it’s very polluting. The problem is that so much people just throw up plastics scraps into nature, or put it in the ordinary bin, whereas plastic can be recycled. Nowadays, plastic recycling has been well improved and we should continue on that way.
So, I’m looking for ideas which could be developed to encourage people to sort plastic to recycle them in the most optimum way.
Thank you in advance for your responses.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 28 2013: this may seem a little far fetched but I was thinking of filling up hundreds - thousands with sand ,gravel or maybe even some other substance ... not sure , then sinking them in the ocean to form a base for a reef . Im not sure if the corals would attach to the plastic may have to punch holes in the bottles so the sand would come out .

    Im not a scientist or a biologist just a dreamer , any opinions
    • Dec 28 2013: the main issue with this would be the chemicals that would leach out of the plactics into the water. but otherwise an interesting idea
      • thumb
        Dec 29 2013: and will be eaten by animals before being attached by such a substance
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2013: they would not be just floating around on the ocean floor , they would be enclosed in a ss mesh bag then anchored to the floor no chance on getting eaten by a hungry sea,l shark, octopus, etc...
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2013: not sure of what chems your talking about , we as humans do drink from them and we seem to be safe .
        • Dec 30 2013: do a little digging on bisphenol A, the levels involved on a bottle by bottle basis are deemed to be safe for consumption, currently

          however your idea isnt one bottle at a time, and the lifeforms involved not human

          chemical leaching does occur, but usually on a small scale,

          as i said your idea does have merit, but its still essentially a pretty landfill, albeit one off shore and out of site
    • thumb
      Dec 29 2013: What would be the difference between this and landfills? Only that we'd have pollution in the sea instead where it would easily risk getting washed away.

      I think that the currently best method of disposal of plastics is in Mike Biddle's idea. We can recycle plastic on a huge scale. http://www.ted.com/talks/mike_biddle.html
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2013: the containers could be anchored together to form one giant base maybe enclosed in a stainless steel mesh bag , could easily be anchored to the floor without too much difficulty or cost
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2013: While I appreciate the idea of trying to do something good for the ocean I don't think that this is the right way to go.

          If we made a steel mesh containing plastic, plastic would still leak out unless the mesh was extremely fine, which would be of great cost. You see, plastic continues to break into smaller and smaller particles through time and those particles would in time leak and be digested by the smaller creatures of the ocean and then proceed to move up the food chain through digestion.

          Also the cost of transporting the plastic to ships and then to locations on open sea would indeed be of great cost. And there is no use for any sea creatures of plastic. There is however use for different species of the oceans for different metals like iron and steel.

          Some projects around the world are producing iron mesh frames that are then dropped into the ocean, and in time coral reefs grow on them. Thailand has even dropped old tanks (the kind used by the military, not containers) into the ocean to help in the formation of coral reefs.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.