October 31, 2014 16:18 UTC

Science & Technology

Could Waste Plastic Reduce Our Need for Oil?

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

A man uses a forklift to move containers of plastic bottles at the recycling center A man uses a forklift to move containers of plastic bottles at the recycling center
x
A man uses a forklift to move containers of plastic bottles at the recycling center
A man uses a forklift to move containers of plastic bottles at the recycling center

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.
 
The United States Environmental Protection Agency says only seven percent of plastic waste in the United States is recycled each year. A new company in northern New York says it can increase that percentage. It also says it can help the United States reduce the amount of oil it imports.  
 
The company has a machine it calls the “plastic-eating monster.” Every hour, thousands of kilograms of milk jugs, water bottles, and grocery bags are fed into the machine. The plastic waste comes from landfills across the United States. John Bordnyniuk runs the company, called JBI.
 
“Basically they’ve been mining their own piles for us and sending them here.”
 
Mr. Bordyniuk has invented a new process for turning plastic into fuel. First, many different kinds of unwashed plastics are melted together.
 
“The viscosity is close to what milk would be like. Almost like when you’re heating milk on the stove. Looks exactly like that, except its black.”
 
Mr. Bordyniuk uses a special chemical to turn the fluid into a vapor. This reduces the plastic to its most basic elements.
 
“Plastics are just long hydrocarbon chains. What we’re doing is re-forming them into links and chains that we want so they have a high fuel value.”
 
Eight percent of the recycled plastic is used to run the system. Independent testers say eighty-six percent of what goes in comes out as fuel.
 
Bob Molodynia helps run the company. He watches as the plastic-eating machine pours a thin, brown liquid into an oil barrel.
 
“You could tap this right now and this is ready to go. That’s a number six fuel, that’s what a lot of like US Steel uses, a lot of major companies, that’s what they pay the big bucks for, right there.”
 
JBI produces several thousand liters of fuel a day. It creates different grades of fuel for different industries. It sells the fuel for up to one hundred dollars a barrel. Each barrel costs about ten dollars to produce.

John Bordyniuk believes plastics will become an important source of fuel for the United States. He says this will reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and reduce the amount of plastic waste in its landfills.
 
Scientists say plastic-to-oil technology is still new and developing. They say it is not yet known if the process is environmentally friendly. And some question whether turning plastic into oil can even be considered “recycling.”
 
Carson Maxted is with the publication Resource Recycling, a magazine that reports on the plastic recycling industry. He says because there is a lot of plastic waste and a great demand for oil, JBI’s recycling technology may create great changes in both industries.
 
“So they’re getting value from something that would otherwise go to the landfill, things that wouldn’t be accepted into a recycler.”
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Jimbo from: USA
12/13/2012 2:36 AM
JBI is a public company. Ticker JBII on the US stock exchange.
Here is their website
http://www.plastic2oil.com/site/home


by: Olga from: Sweden
12/03/2012 12:51 PM
Good idea.


by: Jean, Ndimugipfunsi from: Kakuma, Kenya
11/26/2012 10:15 AM
From wasted plastics to fuel!? What a great and wonderful discovery! That trendy technology of "plastic-eating-Monsters" is essential for our underground protection. But, is it really healthy for living things, especially human being?


by: Shige from: Japan
11/26/2012 2:48 AM
This technology is so amazing. It is like magic. We can save the energy and reduce plastic waste by using this recycle technology.


by: Adenilson from: Brazil
11/22/2012 3:37 PM
Excellent idea and a big gain to environment and if it idea become a franchise I'm in Brazil intersted.


by: nhuquy from: vietnam
11/21/2012 3:46 AM
Those technology were called pyrolysis . It could convert plastic into the oil (pyrolysis oil). Mostly, It use for burning in boiler, machine..


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
11/20/2012 4:43 PM
Recycling plastics and turn them into fuel is a grand discovery. But the gas produced as plastics is burned is said to cause cancer. I do not know what otherwise technology the scientists have for a safe process. If plastics is turned into oil safely, plastic will find new useful dimensions. Thank you.


by: Xavier Cabrera from: Ecuador
11/20/2012 3:26 PM
I dont underestand why this process has been delayed long time. Congratulations for this company.This process helping so much to world to clean huge among the plastic wasted


by: Faruk from: Turkey
11/20/2012 11:28 AM
It's vey useful both people and environment.


by: Olimar Oliveira from: Caetite Bahia Brasil
11/20/2012 7:31 AM
convert waste plastics into fuel oil is really a great discovery and could revolutionize landfills worldwide.
I need of more information around the problem and is need is published in worldwide.
and too to give more details in terms of technology, cost and efficiency of the final product.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Learn with The News

  • A convoy of peshmerga vehicles is escorted by Turkish Kurds on their way to the Turkish-Syrian border, in Kiziltepe near the southeastern city of Mardin October 29, 2014

    Audio Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Kobani

    Also in the news, Burkina Faso ends efforts to extend its presidential term limit after protests in the capital. Ukraine says the EU will be guarantor in any gas deal with Russia. Myanmar holds a major meeting Friday. And claims of cheating delay SAT results for South Korean and Chinese students. More

  • Video Singapore Film Ban Raises Free Speech Issue

    The documentary film, “To Singapore, with Love” tells about political dissidents from Singapore. The film has been shown at public events in Britain, India and Malaysia, among other countries. But one place the movie cannot be seen is Singapore. That is because the government there has banned it. More

  • Ghana Bamboo Bike

    Video Ghana's Bamboo Bikes Hit the Streets

    Bicycle frames are usually made out of materials like carbon fiber, steel or aluminum. But in rural Ghana, a businessman has developed another way to make bicycles from a natural product -- bamboo. The wooden bike parts are sent Ghana to Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. | As It Is More

  • Believer Benito Martinez (C), dressed as a "devil" wearing a mask, walks around in Almonacid del Marquesado, in central Spain, during the "Endiablada" traditional festival, Feb. 3, 2014.

    Audio A Halloween Special: The Devil is Everywhere ...

    Today we take you to the Dark Side. (insert evil laugh here) We teach expressions that involve the king of evil – the devil. Read on to learn how to “speak of the devil”, “to play devil’s advocate” and to ”make a deal with the devil.” | Words and Their Stories More

  • Orbital Sciences Antares Launch

    Video Questions for NASA after Rocket Explosion

    An unmanned privately-owned rocket bringing supplies to the International Space Station exploded seconds after launch Tuesday night. The accident did not cause any injuries on the ground. However, it has raised questions about efforts by the US space agency NASA to use private companies. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama Halloween

    Audio Halloween Is Big with Kids and Business

    The National Retail Federation says sales of Halloween goods will total about $7.4 billion this year. It says the average American will spend about $77. The group expects 162 million people to celebrate. The NRF predicts 54 million of them will hold Halloween parties. | American Mosaic More

  • A print shows the Second Battle of Bull Run, also called Second Manassas.

    Audio South Defeats North Again at Manassas

    Lincoln named George Pope to lead the Army of Virginia. He wanted to join Pope’s forces with the Army of the Potomac and break through Confederate defenses around Richmond. But General Robert E. Lee decided to hit Pope first. More

  • Star House

    Video Home of Last Comanche Chief Close to Ruins

    One of the most interesting people in U.S. history is Quanah Parker, the last chief of the country’s Comanche Indian tribe. Quanah Parker was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Quanah Parker was a fierce fighter. More

  • FILE - A veterinarian at the nonprofit Bali Animal Welfare Association gives a rabies shot to a puppy in Kebon Kaja village, Bangli Regency in Bali, Indonesia.

    Audio Mass Vaccination of Dogs Can Eliminate Rabies

    About 70,000 people worldwide die every year of rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that people get mainly through dog bites. Scientists say vaccinating dogs can effectively get rid of rabies outbreaks in dog populations. And this will have a domino effect, fewer humans with rabies. More

  • Methane oxidizing

    Photogallery Small Organisms in Deep Sea Rocks Eat Methane

    The gas methane has been linked to rising temperatures on Earth. But methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as another “greenhouse gas” -- carbon dioxide. Scientists say both gases trap heat from the sun. They prevent heat from escaping into outer space. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs