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It's About Trash

#trash #recycle #plastic

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#1 tkpatf

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 09:42 AM

Many people know that any kind of trashes are useless. But I keep wondering are trashes really useless? I mean are their substance really can't reused or maybe recycled to make something new like energy or from chemistry perspective, can't we make useful substances from trashes'. I know some countries already imported trashes around the world and turned into something useful such as energy.

 

What keeps me wondering is in the scale of home-industry, can't we use some of substances from some trashes (mixed trashes) and make something new? or maybe from certain trashes, like just papers or just tissues, or just organic, or just plastic trashes. I don't mean to recycle it physically and make something like shoes from plastic, etc because many people dislike it. But what I mean here is recycle trashes chemically.

 

Especially plastic, that becomes many countries' problem nowadays, are all plastic's substances really bad? can't we make something of it? Instead of burn them and let the CO pollute the world? I just want to make solution so people gather trashes happily instead just throwing trashes everywhere

By the way, sorry for my bad english.


Edited by tkpatf, 10 October 2019 - 09:42 AM.


#2 Kardashev6

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 09:55 AM

In the USA many cities have used incinerators for decades. I always wondered if they capture the heat energy and use it for boilers (water) and extract thermal heat out of it.

I know you said not physical...but using a chemical reaction, as you offer as example, is physical.

Also, a shoe example can be very useful despite you not meaning it to be a solution in your thread. I always appreciated the idea of taking old auto tires, punching out a right/left sole footprint and making a useful sandal product.

Last, I thought landfills (unrecycled trash) were intended to go under a chemical change over time from decomposing? I know some materials may not decompose and those that do may take decades. Still, it is a process in use...at least in the USA.

Edited by Kardashev6, 10 October 2019 - 09:56 AM.


#3 exchemist

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 10:52 AM

In the USA many cities have used incinerators for decades. I always wondered if they capture the heat energy and use it for boilers (water) and extract thermal heat out of it.

I know you said not physical...but using a chemical reaction, as you offer as example, is physical.

Also, a shoe example can be very useful despite you not meaning it to be a solution in your thread. I always appreciated the idea of taking old auto tires, punching out a right/left sole footprint and making a useful sandal product.

Last, I thought landfills (unrecycled trash) were intended to go under a chemical change over time from decomposing? I know some materials may not decompose and those that do may take decades. Still, it is a process in use...at least in the USA.

This is a complex subject. There is a whole industry devoted to exactly these things and it is rapidly growing in sophistication. With landfill, it does slowly decompose, depending on what it is. Quite often a landfill site is covered and then methane is extracted from the decomposition and used to power gas engines for electricity generation*. Besides re-using some of what it is in the landfill, this has the advantage of converting a potent and persistent greenhouse gas (methane) into water and some CO2, which is less potent and less persistent. 

 

(*In my professional career, I was involved for a while in developing lubricants for these engines - quite challenging, in view of the contaminants in the gas, which tend to corrode or abrade engine parts.)

 

The heat from incinerators likewise is almost always used for power generation or district heating etc. 

 

Car and truck tyres get used for various things, my favourite being the rubber surfaces you now see everywhere in children's playgrounds.

 

Obviously we are all going to have to get a lot better at doing this sort of thing - and also not throwing away so much rubbish in the first place. The amount of surplus packaging on all sorts of goods today, from supermarket food to the delivery of items ordered over the internet, is an international scandal. 


Edited by exchemist, 10 October 2019 - 10:54 AM.


#4 Kardashev6

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 11:20 AM

Exchemist,

First I apologize to TK for inserting my question to you here, I hope it is not bad form.

Question to the pro (you). My whole life I have heard about a styrofoam cup discarded in the environment can last 10k years (from memory). Is that true? Is it because it's white and reflects light poorly (thus not aiding in decomposition)? Could the pigment be changed darker and promote earlier decomposition? Or, is their an alternative chemical composition that would break down quicker?
TX in advance and again, TK...I apologize.

Edited by Kardashev6, 10 October 2019 - 11:21 AM.