July 23, 2014 07:39 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

  • Obama LGBT

    Audio Obama’s Weak Poll Ratings Worry Democrats

    This is a congressional election year in the United States. Some Democratic Party candidates are concerned about President Obama’s unpopularity could hurt the Democrats’ chances to keep control of the Senate. More

  • Immigration Obama

    Audio Former Agent Blames Politics for US Immigration Crisis

    A former U.S. immigration officer says actions being taken by Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border may be causing people to believe differently. The Obama administration says as many as 90,000 children might try to enter the United States illegally from Mexico this year. More

  • Kepler

    Audio NASA: Close to Discovering Life in Outer Space

    NASA scientists say they are closer than ever to finding life beyond Earth. That search is centered mostly on Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. But the scientists are looking for life outside the solar system. More

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri talk at the presidential palace in Cairo July 22, 2014.

    Audio Kerry: Hamas Can End Crisis with Ceasefire

    United States Secretary of State John Kerry says the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is growing worse by the day. But, he says Hamas can end the suffering by agreeing to an Egyptian-led ceasefire. More

  • Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, shakes hands with opposition leader Sam Rainsy before a meeting at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sept. 17, 2013.

    Audio Cambodian Rivals to Meet on Political Crisis

    Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy are scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 22. They hope to settle the year-long political crisis that led to violent protests and arrests. More

Featured Stories

  • Retired clinical therapist Doug Oliver discusses old times with Geneva McElroy at a senior center in Nashville, Tennessee. (M. Osborne/VOA)

    Conversations Finds Lost Memories

    Conversations about the past are proving to help senior citizens remember the present. These conversations are also helping them fight depression and feel better about themselves. | Health Report More

  • Heat Wave-Las Vegas

    Audio How to Survive the Heat

    Floods, storms and other natural events kill thousands of people every year. So does extreme heat. In fact, heat may be nature’s deadliest killer. | Science in the News More

  • minuteman

    Audio Nuclear Missile Site Turns Tourist Site

    The Cold War is long over. What do you do with a missile launch when a war is over? Turn it into a tourist site, of course. More

  • Pharsalia

    Audio Pharsalia Plantation Celebrates 200th Anniversary

    That’s old time American music to celebrate an anniversary -- for a house. Pharsalia Plantation is on a beautiful mountain country road in Virginia. You can understand why Thomas Massie decided to build the house there in 1814. More

  • Audio James Buchanan Wins Election of 1856

    The Democratic Party denies President Franklin Pierce the nomination and defeats two new opposition parties. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs