There is way too much plastic in the world—and we’re making more every day, even as we struggle to find a way to get rid of the old stuff. A new study poses an interesting solution: Melting plastic bags and bottles back into the oil it was originally made from.
The new research, published Wednesday in Science Advances, looks at a technique called pyrolysis, which essentially melts down polyolefin into its original form—aka oil and gas. Polyolefins are a very common type of plastic in everyday items from drinking straws to packaging to thermal underwear to plastic cling wrap.
One of the most notable things about the new technique is that it’s able to break down the plastics at lower temperatures than other pyrolysis methods, which helps transform the plastic into denser fuel and uses two to three times less energy.
The article then goes on to miss the implication that plastics filling our landfills could be reduced massively as they also miss the relevance of old plastics decaying and releasing poisons into the environment.