Feeding nature with plastic and other petro-stuff


Here’s an idea I’ve had for a while, but haven’t talked about much with anyone, although some time ago I wrote about how the oil spill could be cleaned leaving no chemical residues behind and actually enriching the soil. Now I’d like to talk about cleaning up plastic waste as well as other petrochemicals.

The approach mentioned for the spill could be used to clean up rivers where factories dump their stuff, and this could be aided introducing plants and clams that’d help the process too. Lands contaminated by machinery with stuff like fuels or oils, could be cleaned up with the mushroom as well.

Mr. Paul Stamets participated in a test to clean a land contaminated with fuels and oils and in this video he briefly explains what happened:

Now, how to apply that to plastics is what seems to be the problem. I don’t know if mushroom would grow on plastic, that’s doubtful, so it would need to be turned into something else to facilitate it, and I found a good simple way.

It involves heating the plastic to melt and boil it without burning it, apparently. I’ve seen other machines to process tyres and plastics in such a way before using pyrolysis, but were way bigger, the machine in the above video is more portable.

He’s obviously making it simpler to operate and usable inside closed spaces, but the technology is as old as coal making from wood, so you don’t need computers to control it, especially if you don’t care to get very refined results as he is. It’s basically a pressure cooker with a bubbler. Implementing this techonology doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Plastics don’t even need to be pre-sorted.

All I’ve seen so far had the intention of making more fuel off the waste, not food. You’ll notice when he sets the oil on fire to prove it is oil, how dirty it burns. It doesn’t solve contamination, it’s just in another form. We need to work with nature.

Oyster mushroom in compost

Oyster mushroom in compost

I haven’t seen someone make the connection between this technology and composting the product with mushrooms yet. It is very likely that the mushrooms can take care of the solids resulting from this process too, so the oil and solids could be mixed before inoculation.

This is a solution that could help clean up water and land. Landfills could be turned from a waste heap into several feet of rich top soil. The plastic trash in the oceans could be collected into large ships with this technology on board, processing the waste as it sails, going back to land only to empty its bowels to enrich the soil in the coasts.

We can clean up all this mess in a short time with some good willing people and organizations.

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  • Corey Birkhofer

    Interesting ideas! I just wish these could be implemented…

    • clavaque

      Thanks! I wish that too. I’m actually planning to try this out to see if it actually works, and will post the results here when I do. :)