November 23, 2014 00:51 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

  • Brazil Religion in Latin America

    Audio Latin America Catholics Converting to Protestants

    Almost 40 percent of the world’s Catholic population, or about 425 million people, lives in Latin America. But a recent study from the Pew Research Center says people in Latin America have increasingly lost faith in the Catholic Church. Membership has decreased as much as 20 percent. More

  • This undated handout image provided by Science and the University of Tokyo shows infectious particles of the avian H7N9 virus emerging from a cell.

    Audio What's the Matter?

    From the very big to the very small, everything in our universe is made up of matter. Matter is one of those very hardworking words that you need to master ... no matter what. We will get you to the hear of the matter with this Words and Their Stories. More

  • Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) stretches to shake hands with China's President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee/POOL

    Audio Cambodian Opposition Criticize Dependence on Chinese Aid

    China’s government recently promised more than $500 million in aid to Cambodia. Cambodian officials say they need about $1 billion in foreign aid each year to operate the government. Opposition members are worried about the country becoming too dependent on aid money from China. More

  • Obama Immigration

    Video Republicans Promise to Fight Obama on Immigration

    Republican Party lawmakers are promising to fight President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The order protects millions of people who have been living in the United States illegally. The president’s announcement immediately angered Republicans in the U.S. Congress. More

  • A worker at state-owned Pertamina, the country's main retailer of subsidised fuel, fills a vehicle at a petrol station in Jakarta November 17, 2014. Indonesia's president raised the price of subsidised gasoline and diesel by more than 30 percent on Monday

    Audio Indonesians Protest Rising Fuel Prices

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the government would cut the financial support on fuel. The move led to a 30 percent increase in fuel overnight. These rising prices have led some public transportation groups to go on strike. The government has had to prepare other forms of transportation. More

Featured Stories

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

  • A line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Audio Lincoln's Words at Gettysburg Still Have Meaning

    On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said no one would remember his speech at a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. More

  • PLASTIC DREAMS

    Audio Surgery Safaris: Looking for the Perfect Body

    Many people these days are going as far as South Africa to get their version of perfection. People from across Africa and the world come for so-called “surgery safaris.” There are no animals to see on these safaris. The visitors instead look for smaller stomachs, firmer bottoms or perhaps new eye. More

  • Video South Korea Attempting to Reuse More E-Waste

    South Korea is dealing with increasing amounts of waste from electronic devices. These useless or unwanted parts are often called “e-waste.” . The city of Seoul throws out about 10 tons of e-waste each year. Some local governments in South Korea are creating special "e-waste" recycling programs. More

  • FILE - Brittany Maynard, shown with her Great Dane puppy, Charlie, took a lethal dose of medication prescribed by a doctor in Oregon on Saturday. Maynard was battling brain cancer.

    Video Should You Have the Right to Die?

    The recent case of a 29 year old woman with brain cancer has again raised questions about the right to die. Americans are divided on whether doctors should be able to give deathly sick patients drugs to end their lives. Only four U.S states permit doctor, or physician, assisted suicide. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs