How can we get energy back from plastics?

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Offline thedoc

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How can we get energy back from plastics?
« on: 25/09/2015 21:50:02 »
Helen Coltarty asked the Naked Scientists:
   
If plastics require fossil fuels to be produced then why are we not able to harvest or extract that energy back after plastic articles aren't useful?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 25/09/2015 22:19:10 by chris »

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Offline chris

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Re: How can we get energy back from plastics?
« Reply #1 on: 25/09/2015 22:21:38 »
Actually, we can; one way is to burn the plastic and extract the heat and use it, which some places are set up to do, including the hospital at which I work. An alternative is to use the plastic as a carbon source to limit consumption of other hydrocarbons, thereby reducing manufacturing costs and also the carbon budget. One example of this is the use of plastic waste as a carbon source in blast furnaces to reduce iron oxide, a process pioneered by metallurgists in Australia about a decade ago.
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Offline alancalverd

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Re: How can we get energy back from plastics?
« Reply #2 on: 26/09/2015 00:44:45 »
One of the best uses of scrap plastics is to recycle them into supermarket carrier bags. Alas, the UK government is about to put a tax on this activity, so it will just end up as landfill.
helping to stem the tide of ignorance