Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Distributed Recycling of Post-Consumer Plastic Waste in Rural Areas

  • M. Kreiger (a1), G. C. Anzalone (a2), M. L. Mulder (a1), A. Glover (a1) and J. M Pearce (a1) (a3)...
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Although the environmental benefits of recycling plastics are well established and most geographic locations within the U.S. offer some plastic recycling, recycling rates are often low. Low recycling rates are often observed in conventional centralized recycling plants due to the challenge of collection and transportation for high-volume low-weight polymers. The recycling rates decline further when low population density, rural and relatively isolated communities are investigated because of the distance to recycling centers makes recycling difficult and both economically and energetically inefficient. The recent development of a class of open source hardware tools (e.g. RecycleBots) able to convert post-consumer plastic waste to polymer filament for 3-D printing offer a means to increase recycling rates by enabling distributed recycling. In addition, to reducing the amount of plastic disposed of in landfills, distributed recycling may also provide low-income families a means to supplement their income with domestic production of small plastic goods. This study investigates the environmental impacts of polymer recycling. A life-cycle analysis (LCA) for centralized plastic recycling is compared to the implementation of distributed recycling in rural areas. Environmental impact of both recycling scenarios is quantified in terms of energy use per unit mass of recycled plastic. A sensitivity analysis is used to determine the environmental impacts of both systems as a function of distance to recycling centers. The results of this LCA study indicate that distributed recycling of HDPE for rural regions is energetically favorable to either using virgin resin or conventional recycling processes. This study indicates that the technical progress in solar photovoltaic devices, open-source 3-D printing and polymer filament extrusion have made distributed polymer recycling and upcycling technically viable.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*corresponding author: pearce@mtu.edu
References
Hide All
1.Lebreton L.C.-M., Greer S.D., Borrero J.C.. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 54, 3 (2012).
2.Shen L., Haufe J., Patel M.K.. Product Overview and Market Projection of Emerging Bio-based Plastics PRO-BIP 2009, Utrecht University Final Report, (2009).
3.Lotfi A., Polymer Recycling. WWW document, (http://www.lotfi.net/recycle/plastic.html).
4.Rees J.F.. J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol. 30, 1 (1980).
5.Derraik J.G.B.. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 44 (2002).
6.U.S. National Park Service. Time it takes for garbage to decompose in the environment. WWW documenthttp://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf ) .
7.Arena U., Mastellone M.L., Perugini F.. Int. J. of Life Cycle Assessment. 8, 2 (2003).
8.Perugini F., Mastellone M.L., Arena U.. Environ. Prog. 24, 2 (2005).
9.Subramanian P.M.. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 28, 34 (2000).
10.Björklund A., Finnveden G.. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 44, 4 (2005)
11.U. S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification and Urban Area Criteria. WWW dochttp://www.census.gov/geo/www/ua/2010urbanruralclass.html).
12.Upcraft S., Fletcher R.. Assembly Automation. 23, 4 (2003).
13.Gibson I., Rosen D.W., Stucker B.. Physics Procedia. 5 (2010).
14.Petrovic V., Gonzalez J.V.H., Ferrando O.J., Gordillo J.D., Puchades J.R.B., Griñan L.P.. Int. J. of Production Research. 49, 4 (2010).
15.Gebhardt A., Schmidt F., Hötter J., Sokalla W., Sokalla P.. Physics Procedia. 5, 2 (2010).
16.Crane N.B., Tuckerman J., Nielson G.N.. Rapid Prototyping Journal. 17, 3 (2011).
17.Pearce J. M, Morris Blair C., Laciak K. J., Andrews R., Nosrat A., Zelenika-Zovko I., J. of Sust. Dev. 3(4), 17 (2010).
18.Rosato D.. Plastics Processing Data Handbook. 2nd ed. (Springer-Verlag, 1997).
19.Torcellini R.. Plastic extruder for growing media. WWW document, (http://web4deb.blogspot.com/2010/12/plastic-extruder-for-growing-media.html ) .
20.Baechler C., DeVuono M., Pearce J.M.. Distributed recycling of waste polymer into reprap feedstock. Rapid Prototyping Journal, 19(2) (in press) March 2013.
21.Filabot Personal Filament Maker. WWW documenthttp://filabot.com).
22.Lyman Filament Extruder. WWW documenthttp://www.thingiverse.com/thing:30642).
23.Loultcheva M., Proietto M., Jilov N., La Mantia F.P.. Polymer Degradation and Stability. 57, 1 (1997).
24.Associates Franklin, Life cycle inventory of 100% postconsumer HDPE and PET recycled resin from postconsumer containers and packaging, (2011).
25.Hammond G., Jones C.. Inventory of carbon & energy (ICE) Version 1.6a, Bath U. (2008).
26.Pearce J., Lau A., Net Energy Analysis For Sustainable Energy Production From Silicon Based Solar Cells. Proc. of A. Soc. of Mech. Eng. Solar, Cambell-Howe (Ed.), (2002).
27.Branker K., Pathak M. J.M., Pearce J. M., A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity”, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 15, 4470 (2011).
28.Branker K., Shackles E., Pearce J. M., Peer-to-Peer Financing Mechanisms to Accelerate Renewable Energy Deployment. J. of Sust. Finance & Investment 1(2), 138 (2011).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

MRS Online Proceedings Library (OPL)
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1946-4274
  • URL: /core/journals/mrs-online-proceedings-library-archive
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 6 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 990 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.