Canada crunches the numbers on plastics-to-fuel

Canada crunches the numbers on plastics-to-fuel

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

If all the non-recycled plastics that are currently put into Canadian landfills each year were instead converted to energy using currently available technologies, this action would generate enough fuel for over 600,000 automobiles annually. That's the conclusion of new research carried out on behalf of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.

The study, conducted by the University of Waterloo (Ontario) School of Planning, estimates that if all the non-recycled plastics were converted to fuel oil, it would produce almost 9 million barrels of oil — equivalent to a value of $787 million.

"Plastics, being hydrocarbons, have energy values substantially higher than coal and almost as high as natural gas and oil. Capturing this energy value of non-recycled plastics would contribute a significant supply of alternative energy in Canada," said the report's co-author, professor Murray E. Haight, in a prepared statement.

Alternatively, the study found that if all of the non-recycled plastics were separated from other waste and incinerated in power plants, the electricity produced would be sufficient to supply almost 500,000 Canadian households annually.

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