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U3 a Ivybridge web 2019

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This presentation was given to a u3a meeting in November 2019 and summarises issues relating to both the recovery and disposal of plastic waste.

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U3 a Ivybridge web 2019

  1. 1. The Beauty and Nightmare of Plastics. By Malcolm Mackley. Emeritus Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge. Resident Salcombe. 1 Polyethylene “single crystals” 1970 Plastics Free Kingsbridge 2016 U3A. Ivybridge. December 2019
  2. 2. 2https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution Plastics and Coal (pollution) Global Plastics Production UK Coal Production Born in 1947 Polymer Physics PhD 1970 Realised extent of plastics global problemPolymers, Plastics and Innovation My father. Manager of a cement works
  3. 3. “Go into plastics” clip The Graduate 1967 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaCHH5D74Fs
  4. 4. Plastics are part of the Polymer Family DNA. “the stuff of life” Polyethylene. a “man made” 1934 discovery. 4 Cellulose. “one of natures building blocks”
  5. 5. 5 1970s The Beauty of Polymers (My Bristol Physics PhD Supervisors 1970s) Sir Charles Frank (1911-1998)Andrew Keller (1925 –1999) World leading Polymer Scientist World leading Physicist At this point of time, Plastic and CO2 pollution not appreciated
  6. 6. 6 “Beautiful” Polyethylene Crystal Bristol Physics 1950-1970s PE “single crystals” PE “shish kebabs” nanofibres 10 nm
  7. 7. 7 Polyethylene (PE) can be …… Macro. mm-m Micro. mm Nano. nm Molecular. Angstrom Semi crystalline solid RubberyDiamond like Perfect order Total chaos Tough and Strong
  8. 8. “I worked with Bp to help improve their polymer processing!” 250,000 Tonnes/annum 25 kg bag of PE every 3 seconds. 1990s. Ineos (ex Bp). Grangemouth Scotland Sir Jim Ratcliffe 60% Owner of Ineos At this point in time Plastic and CO2 pollution still not appreciated 8
  9. 9. Temperature 50 100 150 200 C0 DH Melt Processing The “good” and “bad” properties of PE • Low melting point. • Low density. • High strength and toughness. • “Low cost?”. • Ease of processing. Polyethylene £ 1000/tonne Plastic floats! 9
  10. 10. Ease of melt Processing ; A significant reason why plastic is used so much. Simulation. Experiment.Stress field birefringence Cambridge Multipass Rheometer (MPR) (David Hassell) 10 www.malcolmmackley.com/discovery-and-innovation/movies/
  11. 11. 11 Thirty years of research results for example in the ability to mathematically model plastic bottle blow moulding. Whilst at the same time… Thirty years is enough time to create a global plastic bottle nightmare! Plastic Bottles ! UK; 35 million plastic bottles /day
  12. 12. Polyethylene (PE) Global manufacture. 1934-2019 Globally, 2019 > 100 million tonnes/annum = Fill Salcombe Estuary / annum with PE 12
  13. 13. 13 Westbury Wilts Cement Works 1960- 2010 (Where my father was Production Manager 1962- 1980) 700,000 tonnes cement/annum. Global PE 100 million tonnes/annum; enough to fill the chalk quarry at least 4 times over/annum. (Wiltshire Times) Drone Photo. Simon Wright ‘Skynamite’
  14. 14. https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/10/21/uk-household-plastics-found-in-illegal-dumps-in-malaysia/ 2018. UK plastic dumped in Malaysia. 14
  15. 15. “Problematic Plastic Products” Plastic packaging and bottles are a Global problem 15 Film extrusion Blow moulding
  16. 16. 16 Recovery and Reuse of used plastics (and other materials) is an interlinked problem and is at the heart of acceptable use. 2019. “A conclusion”
  17. 17. Coloured plastic bags to save the world from plastic pollution! Collect in coloured plastic bags 2016. A multi material recovery solution. Eskilstuna – Sweden A clean and colourful solution to domestic waste collection Optical separation of bags to different reuse streams 17
  18. 18. 18 Coming soon! SHDC Bin Lorries Pots, Tubs and Trays (PTT) and more! (South West Devon Waste Partnership)
  19. 19. 19 Incinerate, Landfill or Recycle?
  20. 20. 20 Westbury Wilts Cement Works 1960- 2000 700,000 tonnes cement/annum. Used car tyres and Household waste CO2
  21. 21. 21 MVV Waste Energy Recovery Plant Devonport Plymouth (South West Devon Waste Partnership) 245,000 tonnes/annum An impressive solution to waste energy recovery
  22. 22. 22 Black Bin Waste in. Power. electricity and steam out.
  23. 23. 23 A developing technology, Chemical Recycling; The pyrolysis option. Recycling of “clean PE and PP waste” Recycling Technologies (Reading). Plastic Energy. “Clean” plastic Waste in Monomer for fresh polymerisation plastic out
  24. 24. 24 2019 Plastic Pollution can be controlled. However globally; Plastic Use, Recovery and Recycle Technology needs to be significantly improved and Incineration of plastics reduced.
  25. 25. 25