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Designing Plastic Containers & Waste Separation Equipment Around Each Other

Started by Bret Cahill June 21, 2019
They keep hyping plastic recycling issues like it's politically correct.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/17/recycled-plastic-america-global-crisis

If minor low cost changes are made to plastic containers beforehand it may be easier than they think to make recycling profitable. 

Most industrial separation processes don't have the luxury of designing what is going to be separated, i.e. wheat from the chaff, etc., around what will be doing the separation.  The designer of the separation process only has one side to work with.

The yuge advantage of designing plastic bottles and the waste separation equipment around each other could very well be enough to off set the one or 2 order of magnitude lower value/lb of the end product.

The first solution, mostly for explanation purposes here, would be a special kind of Velcro where both surfaces are specifically designed only for each other.  The hooks only fit and hang up on certain size or shape loops designed only for those hooks.  Other Velcros don't work.

Polyethylene bottles would have one size or shape, polyester another, PVC, another, etc.

Other hooks -- and the plastics associated with them -- just fall off the conveyor belt onto other conveyor belts until all the plastic bottles end up in the right bin.

Optical taggants might be more realistic, even cheaper for the plastic bottle manufacturer as well as the separation equipment manufacturer.  Lasers on the separation machine see the right color reflected from a water bottle and a short compressed air blast knocks it off the conveyor belt.  Skippy peanut butter does something similar with burned peanuts.

These changes could be accomplished without government requirements as it's easy to be politically correct if it doesn't cost over 0.3 cents / bottle.

To keep the bottles clean nano and other surface treatments could keep the catsup from sticking so very little water is necessary to clean the plastic.


Bret Cahill




On Fri, 21 Jun 2019 11:14:25 -0700 (PDT), Bret Cahill
<bretcahill@aol.com> wrote:

>They keep hyping plastic recycling issues like it's politically correct. > >https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/17/recycled-plastic-america-global-crisis > >If minor low cost changes are made to plastic containers beforehand it may be easier than they think to make recycling profitable. > >Most industrial separation processes don't have the luxury of designing what is going to be separated, i.e. wheat from the chaff, etc., around what will be doing the separation. The designer of the separation process only has one side to work with. > >The yuge advantage of designing plastic bottles and the waste separation equipment around each other could very well be enough to off set the one or 2 order of magnitude lower value/lb of the end product. > >The first solution, mostly for explanation purposes here, would be a special kind of Velcro where both surfaces are specifically designed only for each other. The hooks only fit and hang up on certain size or shape loops designed only for those hooks. Other Velcros don't work. > >Polyethylene bottles would have one size or shape, polyester another, PVC, another, etc. > >Other hooks -- and the plastics associated with them -- just fall off the conveyor belt onto other conveyor belts until all the plastic bottles end up in the right bin. > >Optical taggants might be more realistic, even cheaper for the plastic bottle manufacturer as well as the separation equipment manufacturer. Lasers on the separation machine see the right color reflected from a water bottle and a short compressed air blast knocks it off the conveyor belt. Skippy peanut butter does something similar with burned peanuts. > >These changes could be accomplished without government requirements as it's easy to be politically correct if it doesn't cost over 0.3 cents / bottle. > >To keep the bottles clean nano and other surface treatments could keep the catsup from sticking so very little water is necessary to clean the plastic. > > >Bret Cahill > > >
Spray paint a band of fluorescent paint around any bottle or other plastic thing. That would cost a fraction of a cent. Wavelengths identify composition and recycling bin number. Easy to sense. -- John Larkin Highland Technology, Inc picosecond timing precision measurement jlarkin att highlandtechnology dott com http://www.highlandtechnology.com
On Fri, 21 Jun 2019 11:14:25 -0700 (PDT), Bret Cahill wrote:

>Optical taggants might be more realistic, even cheaper for the plastic bottle manufacturer as well as the separation equipment manufacturer. Lasers on the separation machine see the right color reflected from a water bottle and a short compressed air blast knocks it off the conveyor belt. Skippy peanut butter does something similar with burned peanuts.
In the UK they look at the bottles with UV (I think) and it tells them what type of plastic it is. It doesn't work with black plastic since the carbon used to blacken it absorbed the UV. The machines here already sort the types of plastics they can recycle out without any additional stuff on the item. -- Regards - Rodney Pont The from address exists but is mostly dumped, please send any emails to the address below e-mail rpont (at) gmail (dot) com
> >Optical taggants might be more realistic, even cheaper for the plastic bottle manufacturer as well as the separation equipment manufacturer. Lasers on the separation machine see the right color reflected from a water bottle and a short compressed air blast knocks it off the conveyor belt. Skippy peanut butter does something similar with burned peanuts. > > In the UK they look at the bottles with UV (I think) and it tells them > what type of plastic it is. It doesn't work with black plastic since > the carbon used to blacken it absorbed the UV. The machines here > already sort the types of plastics they can recycle out without any > additional stuff on the item.
Maybe the UK is more diligent but in the U.S. that's "aspirational" recycling. You put the stuff in the blue bin and pretend it's being separated and recycled. In reality no one separates the stuff so 80% ends up in a landfill. Bret Cahill
> >They keep hyping plastic recycling issues like it's politically correct. > > > >https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/17/recycled-plastic-america-global-crisis > > > >If minor low cost changes are made to plastic containers beforehand it may be easier than they think to make recycling profitable. > > > >Most industrial separation processes don't have the luxury of designing what is going to be separated, i.e. wheat from the chaff, etc., around what will be doing the separation. The designer of the separation process only has one side to work with. > > > >The yuge advantage of designing plastic bottles and the waste separation equipment around each other could very well be enough to off set the one or 2 order of magnitude lower value/lb of the end product. > > > >The first solution, mostly for explanation purposes here, would be a special kind of Velcro where both surfaces are specifically designed only for each other. The hooks only fit and hang up on certain size or shape loops designed only for those hooks. Other Velcros don't work. > > > >Polyethylene bottles would have one size or shape, polyester another, PVC, another, etc. > > > >Other hooks -- and the plastics associated with them -- just fall off the conveyor belt onto other conveyor belts until all the plastic bottles end up in the right bin. > > > >Optical taggants might be more realistic, even cheaper for the plastic bottle manufacturer as well as the separation equipment manufacturer. Lasers on the separation machine see the right color reflected from a water bottle and a short compressed air blast knocks it off the conveyor belt. Skippy peanut butter does something similar with burned peanuts. > > > >These changes could be accomplished without government requirements as it's easy to be politically correct if it doesn't cost over 0.3 cents / bottle. > > > >To keep the bottles clean nano and other surface treatments could keep the catsup from sticking so very little water is necessary to clean the plastic. > > > > > >Bret Cahill > > > > > > > > Spray paint a band of fluorescent paint around any bottle or other > plastic thing. That would cost a fraction of a cent.
Micro dots would be a fraction of a fraction of a cent.
> Wavelengths identify composition and recycling bin number. Easy to > sense.
It would be difficult to find a separation problem that is more fun to solve. Half the engineers on the planet would walk over hot coals barefoot to solve this one! Bret Cahill
On Fri, 21 Jun 2019 20:56:09 -0700 (PDT), Bret Cahill wrote:

>> >Optical taggants might be more realistic, even cheaper for the plastic bottle manufacturer as well as the separation equipment manufacturer. Lasers on the separation machine see the right color reflected from a water bottle and a short compressed air blast knocks it off the conveyor belt. Skippy peanut butter does something similar with burned peanuts. >> >> In the UK they look at the bottles with UV (I think) and it tells them >> what type of plastic it is. It doesn't work with black plastic since >> the carbon used to blacken it absorbed the UV. The machines here >> already sort the types of plastics they can recycle out without any >> additional stuff on the item. > >Maybe the UK is more diligent but in the U.S. that's "aspirational" recycling. You put the stuff in the blue bin and pretend it's being separated and recycled. In reality no one separates the stuff so 80% ends up in a landfill.
It doesn't happen everywhere but you do see on the news occasionally that somewhere has just installed a waste separator that does this. Our supermarkets are trying to get rid of the black food trays, plastic packaging in general, because of the recycling problem. I noticed that our local council tip now has a bay for 'burnable' items that are burnt to generate power. -- Regards - Rodney Pont The from address exists but is mostly dumped, please send any emails to the address below e-mail rpont (at) gmail (dot) com
> >> >Optical taggants might be more realistic, even cheaper for the plastic bottle manufacturer as well as the separation equipment manufacturer. Lasers on the separation machine see the right color reflected from a water bottle and a short compressed air blast knocks it off the conveyor belt. Skippy peanut butter does something similar with burned peanuts. > >> > >> In the UK they look at the bottles with UV (I think) and it tells them > >> what type of plastic it is. It doesn't work with black plastic since > >> the carbon used to blacken it absorbed the UV. The machines here > >> already sort the types of plastics they can recycle out without any > >> additional stuff on the item. > > > >Maybe the UK is more diligent but in the U.S. that's "aspirational" recycling. You put the stuff in the blue bin and pretend it's being separated and recycled. In reality no one separates the stuff so 80% ends up in a landfill. > > It doesn't happen everywhere but you do see on the news occasionally > that somewhere has just installed a waste separator that does this. Our > supermarkets are trying to get rid of the black food trays, plastic > packaging in general, because of the recycling problem. I noticed that > our local council tip now has a bay for 'burnable' items that are burnt > to generate power.
Except for endocrine issues plastic is a great packaging material, convenient, cheap, etc. If it can be easily and cheaply recycled, then there is no reason to get rid of it. For awhile the Chinese were paying kids to take off the caps which are made of a different material. Japan and other places make the consumer take the caps off. No one should waste even 2 seconds taking off caps. A 300 watt juicer takes about 4 seconds to shred a carrot down to cellular bits -- $0.00002 of electricity. Recyclable bottles could be designed to be strong as today but under certain conditions created by the machine, break predictably into several uniform size pieces. After the pieces are rinsed several times counter current flow and dried they are separated optically or by other means and then melted or shredded. Bret Cahill
https://www.greenbiz.com/article/reimagining-commerce-through-products-purpose

https://theintercept.com/2019/07/20/plastics-industry-plastic-recycling/

As with any pollution, tax it to reduce it.

The industry would then get more receptive to smart plastics that are easy to recycle.