Japanese ' Blest Machine' recycles plastic into oil at home
Plastics are generally recycled back into oil in massive facilities, but a Japanese inventor has built a tabletop machine that can accomplish the same task safely and cleanly.
It' s called the Blest Machine and was put together by Akinori Ito, after he began to see the places he played in as a child disappearing. He wanted to make the process of plastic recycling more accessible, so that less landfill would be required -- an increasing problem in densely-populated Japan.
To operate, you put your plastic trash in a large bucket, then screw on a lid. The temperature inside rises, slowly melting the plastic, which becomes a liquid and then a gas. The gas passes through a tube into a container filled with water, where it than cools and forms oil again. That oil can then be burnt as-is or further separated into gasoline, diesel and kerosene. A kilogram of plastic turns into about a litre of oil.
There are a few questions that haven' t been answered. Ito claims significant CO2 emission reductions, but that assumes that you would have originally burnt the plastic and that you' re not intending to burn the oil.
There' s also the question of what happens to all of the impurities and potentially toxic compounds, like paint, that are left behind when the machine' s finished turning the plastic into oil.
Ito plans to take the machine to developing countries, where it can be used as both a way to lessen the problem of landfill and provide a useful fuel. But the real value is in the machine' s size -- it' s small enough to take on a plane, or sit in a family home, meaning that microproduction of oil becomes a real possibility.
Ito' s current tabletop model can be purchased from Blest' s website for a shade over £6,000. If your tastes run larger, there' s an array of much bigger machines available too.