Plastics Recycling Technology Breakthrough | Plastic Bags Banned in Italy

GreenTracker| Italian Environmental Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo has confirmed that a ban on non-biodegradable, single-use bags will take effect on January 1, 2011, for all of Italy. The ban, originally announced for New Year’s Day 2010 was delayed a year to give the industry time for transition.

While the plastic industry protests that nowhere else in Europe has such a ban, 73% of Italians reported that they would use alternatives to single-use, non-biodegradable plastic bags when shopping, says Treehugger.

Italians use 25% of the disposable bags produced annually in all of Europe, 20 to 25 billion nonbiodegradeable bags annually. Skeptics argue that the law has no teeth. We will revisit the topic.

Recycling Plastic Wrapping Breakthrough

Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Warwick believe they have a new method of recycling 100% of household plastics. Even with global consumers supporting municipal laws requiring us to separate the recycling, only about 12% of waste is truly recycled, with the rest put into land fill or burnt as fuel.

Profesor Jay Bayens believes his engineers have devised a simple process that can break down every piece of plastic waste, creating new products that can then be sold as new ingredients.

The Warwick researchers have devised a unit which uses pyrolysis (using heat in the absence of oxygen to decompose of materials) in a “fluidised bed” reactor. Tests completed in the last week have shown that the researchers have been able to literally shovel in to such a reactor a wide range of mixed plastics which can then be reduced down to useful products many of which can then be retrieved by simple distillation. via Science Daily

More reading:

Europe Bids Adieu to Bubbly Water in Plastic Bottles