How One Company Turns Plastic Waste Into Reusable Packaging

How One Company Turns Plastic Waste Into Reusable Packaging

Narrator: This pile of scraps is actually
shredded plastic and clothing,
and it’s about to be turned into bottles.
We all know plastic waste is a problem.
It can take up to 1,000
years to break down,
which can lead to things like this.
Every year, manufacturers
burn $80 to $120 billion
worth of fossil fuels to make
single-use plastic items,
like water and soda bottles,
meaning it’s used once and then discarded.
And even if it’s recycled, that
requires additional energy,
which releases even more greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere.
One company rethinking all this
is Canadian-based Loop Industries.
Instead of using
petroleum and natural gas,
Loop takes already existing plastic items
along with polyester fiber materials,
like carpets and T-shirts,
then breaks them down
to be turned into new plastic products.
And the upside?
It doesn’t require the energy
conventional recycling centers need,
which helps reduce greenhouse gases.
Daniel Solomita: Not only
are we using waste plastics,
but we’re using waste plastics
that have no value today.
So, those are the plastics that end up
in the ocean and your
rivers and landfills,
because no one can do
anything with the material.
So, Loop’s technology is built to take
very low-value material and create
a very high-value product out of it.
Narrator: This isn’t really
recycling; it’s upcycling.
This concept of upcycling has
been around since the 1960s.
However, it is traditionally
done with heat and pressure.
It’s very expensive.
So, how exactly does Loop’s process work?
Solomita: Everyone else in
the world that manufactures
those two monomers
starts from fossil fuels,
either natural gas or crude oil.
We make the exact same petrochemicals,
except we don’t use the
petroleum; we use waste plastic.
And then we rebuild those monomers
back into brand new plastic.
Narrator: Imagine the waste
plastic is a chocolate cake.
Loop’s process pretty much
breaks down the chocolate cake
into its basic ingredients:
the eggs, the flour, the
sugar, and the chocolate.
Each ingredient is broken down
and separated into its purest form.
For our cake metaphor,
that means going so far
as putting the egg back in its shell.
Then, Loop takes the purified ingredients
and bakes a brand new cake.
To start, they load these massive reactors
with a bunch of waste plastic
and add in Loop’s own
proprietary catalyst.
Solomita: What our catalyst
that we’ve developed does
is it goes in and it cuts the bonds
between those two chemicals
and releases them.
Narrator: The catalyst
breaks down the waste
into its two base monomers:
DMT, dimethyl terephthalate,
and MEG, monoethylene glycol.
After that, the separated
DMT and MEG monomers
are purified to remove
additives, like dye.
The purified DMT and
MEG are then turned back
into PET, polyethylene terephthalate,
which is the base material
for many plastic products.
These PET pellets are then sold
to bottling and packaging companies.
The pellets are loaded
into their machines,
which molds them into the
final packaging shape.
And after it’s used as
a plastic water bottle,
color container, polyester fiber, or more,
it can be broken down
and built back up again,
a continuous cycle that
doesn’t require fossil fuels.
Loop’s finished products
are currently being used
by Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Evian.
And they’re currently building their first
American facility in South Carolina.
Let’s hope it’s sustainable
enough to make this disappear.

100 thoughts on “How One Company Turns Plastic Waste Into Reusable Packaging”

  1. Why cant whe stop making plastic and use the same one with energy from the sun or use the bacteria that was discovered becuase they eat it

  2. Why are we not thinking about putting plastic and recycling or garbage facilities on the moon or shooting the stuff into the sun?

    I presume it comes down to recycling and trying not to producte anymore new plastic and completely switching to recycled.

    Why are we not shooting or disposing of plastics and garbage via the sun? This would alleviate any environmental problems for earth breaking down those plastics and then having the gas released into the atmosphere and we wouldn't have to pay for the energy to dispose of the waste either.

  3. We all hope LOOP COMPANY open the branches all over the world. That can be significantly good for environment.

  4. If its actually happening and it could expend to the whole world then lots of wastage could be stoped. And the idea actually sounds pretty great to me.

  5. So they are using toxic chemicals instead of energy and heat. The Video wasnt really informative, more like a Advertisement

  6. Thank you to that company…using man's incredible mind and technology to improve the world…instead of the other way around.

  7. We’d better figure this out fast. The weather seems more severe already the planet will not forgive us. It’s already trying to cleanse itself.

  8. There needs to be more companies like loop to globally change this plastic problem…sounds like a good solution

  9. It is only sustainable development if it is in the developing nations that have those trash piles everywhere since those nations to not have decent infrastructure to allow for local governments to remove the waste. So opening up in South Carolina is not helping.

  10. Although this doesn’t directly require fossil fuels, most of the energy is coming from fossil fuels to power the grid. The up cycling isn’t a closed loop either otherwise it would violate the second law of thermodynamics.

  11. Look at Canada, they don't have as much plastic as us, but they're taking much more control before becoming like America. They're even banning plastic bags and single use plastics. This is what we need

  12. what kind of energy is beign used to breakdown in the plastic to basic ingredients if they are not using fossil fuel I would appreciate the company or else they are the same one who supports the OIL industries…

  13. but…it still uses energy form oil to do all of that. recycling is well and good but we need to create tech that doesn't contribute to the destruction of nature. We are essentially trading piles of garbage for global warming. Trash will not go anywhere but global warming needs to be stopped.

  14. Until the actual process and visible product is on stage, no one can be sure this idea will work. At least, in order to bring in investors, they must meet the their economic initiatives and incentivize governments that traditional methods are costing them much. So, lets see.

  15. So they can recycle those soiled diapers sent back by the Philippines? Back into bottles that store the sodas in 7/11?

  16. What happens to the chemical used in the process, how damaging is it, is it toxic or harmful to the environment? It ain’t no good robbing Peter to pay Paul ? If it is truly a good thing then more details please….

  17. Plastic is not just bad for the environment it's also bad for humans, synthetic fibers are made from plastic and so when you wash that polyester shirt in the washer it releases microfibers and ends up in rivers and oceans. Putting food in plastic is harmful because it contains bpa, it releases toxic chemicals on to your food when it's warm. Plastic is probably the worst thing humans invented.

  18. If you don’t realize that the plants that you eat and that your life depends are are fed by CO2 then maybe severe hunger would help you understand. Plastic waste is a major problem, burning fossil fuels isn’t. Get educated, don’t believe what you’re spoon fed by people that benefit from propagating misinformation.

  19. TOO complex, plastic and rubber can be returned to it's oil state by pyrolysis. There are even home build from junk units making diesel fuel from scrap garbage plastic. Look it up on youtube.

  20. So they take high walue plastic (oil based) and make low walue plastic pet. There is only 2 places plastic ends its life.. In the nature or burned.. No matter how mutch wee reuse

  21. how about getting rid of the plastic instead of continuously making more of it which is damaging the oceans because you got three giant swells of plastic bottles floating in the ocean that you can see from space.

  22. Disappointing video. When covering a topic like this i would expect discussion on the efficiency of their process, what other waste products they produce, how clean the recyclables have to be for them to use it etc. This just sounds like an ad.

  23. How about this solution, companies that produce the product that uses single use plastics (containers etc) buy back those containers from people for a small amount of money and the government gives them incentives to do so. Now they can clean the used plastic and put more fairy liquid or Coca Cola or whatever they do back in and sell it. It won’t solve everything but its a small start.

  24. It doesn’t take A scientist to see that the machines purifying require some power source. heck! even the computers in accounting require a power source. Now I don’t see solar power panels or wind mills, which leads me to believe it’s coming from a power plant.. maybe it’s using reduced energy.. a little false advertising

  25. As much as I applaud businesses such as this one for helping to deliver solutions to environmental degradation, humanity must prioritise systematic-level changes, such as or grotesque consuming patterns, pouring R&D capital into clean energy (a gigantic win will be nuclear fusion), and ending the disgusting corporate welfare for fossil fuel corporations.

  26. Why not no Stop producing too much plastic. Plastics must be used only where it's really needed. For shopping bags we can return to the old ways.

  27. You should read "The Accidental Superpower","The Absent Superpower" and "After the Superpower" by Peter Zeihan.

  28. This is business again but ok. we all have to say no to plastics. That’s the real maturity. And that’s how we break circle of life.

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