03 July 2007

Plastic into Oil

"Just one word, Benjamin. Plastics."

That line from The Graduate has acquired new meaning in recent days, as a start-up company has claimed to have invented a gizmo involving high-frequency microwaves that will turn plastics into 20% diesel oil and 80% combustible gas. To learn more, see their SEC filings.


The Hawk-10, as they call it, is so far a very rudimentary non-market-ready thing, but the idea is both to reduce the amount of trash in landfills and numbers of abandoned junk piles, as well as to a lessor extent, provide some diesel oil.

By itself, you might well say, "big deal" to this bit of news. There are lots of companies founded on bright ideas which, for a variety of reasons, never come to fruition. In this case, the bright idea has some irony to it. Taking the crude oil, turning some of it into plastics, then when its life as a kitchen utensil is done and its ready for a landfill, turning some of it into diesel oil, losing ground to the law of entropy at each stage, sounds like an expensive way to get some oil.

Wouldn't it almost always be easier to recycle something plastic into something else plastic, rather than recycle the plastic itself into oil?

The only reason this came to my attention is because some right wingnuts have decided that this is yet more proof of a liberal media conspiracy. The Hawk-10, you see, hasn't been getting blaring head-lines, which proves that the press doesn't want good news, only wants to spread environmental alarmism etc.


Sure it does. And my trip to Dublin last month proves that I'm an overgrown leprechaun.

Sur'en I'm a wishing the top o' the mornin to all the wingnuts, an' normal folk too.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.