It is a widely accepted fact that plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products has overwhelmed our ability to effectively deal with it. Moreover, plastic pollution is most visible in the developing world, such as Pakistan, where plastic waste collection systems are often inefficient or non-existent.
However, plastics have yielded some good: plastics have revolutionized medicine with life saving devices, lightened cars and jets – which in turn saved both fuel and pollution – and saved lives with helmets, incubators, and equipment for clean drinking water. Hence, we cannot do away with plastics entirely.
However, our ability to manage, recycle, and dispose off waste plastic is left severely wanting. It is estimated that a staggering 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year. One way its gets there is from the world’s rivers, which serve as direct conduits of trash from the world’s cities to the ocean. The Indus River in Pakistan, for example, has been estimated to carry about 164,322 tons of plastic into the ocean every year.
Moreover, plastics often contain additives which make them stronger, flexible and more durable, which on the other hand means that they take longer (some estimates suggest almost 400 years) to break down and degrade. However, when plastic does break down
what are termed as micro-plastics – it ends up in our food, our soil, and ultimately, in our diets.
The global volume of plastic waste continues to grow, and some of the biggest producers don’t manage their waste effectively. In Pakistan, for example, 1,491,807 kg of plastic waste is wasted every day and of which 86% is mismanaged.
Our solution thus aims to incentivize corporations and governments to manage and collect their plastic waste by providing them an alternate source of fuel made by converting waste plastic into fuel through the process of catalytically cracking plastic.
This will not only aid in eliminating waste plastic, but will utilize existing plastic to create a product which can be used as an alternate source of fuel. Moreover, this will also help communities and governments to move towards a circular economy where plastic does not end up in the oceans and landfills but rather, is collected, recycled and re-enters the market as a new product, which includes the synfuel, and the residual char which can be utilized as bio-fertilizer or as an adsorbent in water treatment systems.