Keep using the plastic. We need it

Instead of outright bans on plastic, which really serve no one (not even the turtles in the oceans), we should be becoming much more active on recycling. Humans are innovative creatures, and we have already seen lots of ways in which recycled products can enhance our lives.

Kiwi company turns plastic waste into high-quality concrete ? NZ Herald March 2017

Here is one?way.

This article ?came out in February 2017 – long before the bans on plastics started and if the government had any sense at all, they would be plugging this idea for all it is worth. quote:

A New Zealand company is turning plastic waste into high-quality concrete.

Plazrok, the brainchild of south Auckland-based company Enviroplaz, is unique in that it can transform absolutely any type of plastic into a rock-like substance that forms the aggregate of concrete.

“We don’t take the labels off, we don’t have to disassemble it or take any of the other components off it, we can use it in its entirety,” said Enviroplaz founding director Peter Barrow.

“We don’t even need to clean it – the process we put it through does everything for us.” end quote.

What an absolutely brilliant solution to our recycling problem, particularly now that China no longer takes much of our used plastics. The innovation here is quite extraordinary. quote:

What’s more, concrete companies would not have to change their processes at all in order to use the Plazrok in their product.

Yet they would end up with concrete that is 10 to 40 per cent lighter than usual. That spells big savings.

“For example, when they were building Britomart … there were 7000 truck movements between Wiri and Britomart in order to deliver that concrete. If you decreased the weight by 20 per cent you’ve dropped that down to 5000 trips. Think about what that does for your industry, for the roads, for your diesel usage, for your tyre savings,” Barrow said.

Plazrok concrete had strengths comparable to conventional concrete, while offering seismic advantages.

“There’s no reason that we should be chucking plastic in the oceans or rivers, or in landfills,” Barrow said. end quote.

20% lighter. Seismic advantages. This stuff could actually reduce building costs, which we all agree are mostly much too high. So, a win/win – right? quote:

Swart saw huge potential in the product, particularly as a way to reduce environmental waste.

“All we’re doing is substituting the aggregate, which gets mined out of hillsides, with this material,” he said.

“So we’re saying it can all come here … no plastic needs to enter landfill anymore.” end quote.

So why do we need to ban any plastics at all when they can be recycled into concrete? It makes no sense. quote:

Enviroplaz has developed another innovative plastic product, Plaztuff, which could have big implications for the construction industry.

Barrow said Plaztuff was seven times lighter than steel, and can also be used in place of stainless steel, aluminium, fibreglass or plywood, yet does not rot, rust or corrode.

It has been used to build boats, barges, swimming pools, quarrying and aggregate bins, truck tankers, and even an art sculpture.

“We can build a truck tanker that’s almost as competitively priced as a steel tanker, and yet you don’t have to paint it, it doesn’t rust and it doesn’t rot so the maintenance cost is a lot lower” Barrow said.

“The production time is also lower because it’s lighter material so it’s easier to handle. So suddenly we’ve got a material that not only reduces the end user’s cost but reduces the [cost] implication for the people building with it.”

Plaztuff is made from a base of polyethylene residue with a master batch of “secret herbs and spices”.

“If you took an aluminium boat and you took a sledgehammer to it you’d ding it. If you took a sledgehammer to this it won’t do a thing,” Barrow said.

What’s more, it’s completely recyclable.

“And in 30 years time we can buy this material back and reuse it in exactly the same process by re-grinding it.” end quote.

So, let me get this straight.

We have a company that can recycle various types of plastic into concrete, into fibreglass, into building materials that will reduce the cost of building. It is a world leader. They are now doing a deal in Thailand for their products.

We have a government that has just banned one of the items that can be used in the manufacture of their products, which may mean that, in the end, they will have to source their raw materials from overseas?

Does anyone else see the disconnect here? Rather than look for innovative ways of recycling plastics, the government has decided to go for outright bans.

So tell me again how the ban on plastic bags is not a way for the government to exert control over our behaviour. Because, they really have no excuse for it, do they?