We’re running out of lots of things on this planet: land space, clean water, oil, but one thing we’ve got more than enough of is plastic waste. With petroleum-based plastic incorporated into nearly every product, our oceans and landfills have become clogged with the non-biodegradable byproducts of our consumer culture.
A new project from some BYU graduates could help to shrink the growing mountain of plastic on our planet, however. A startup called Inviroment LLC is gathering funding for a product called “PlasTek.” They say it’s an eco-friendly chemical solution that will degrade plastics in a matter of months and generate clean energy.
As is the norm with most startups, Inviroment is holding many details about what PlasTek is and how it works close to the chest.
“The chemicals we’re using have been proven to break down plastics, but we have a little different approach and have developed a secret sauce, if you want to think of it that way. No one has ever thought of trying to chemically change waste at a landfill. We are looking to make a change at the landfill (end of product lifecycle), rather than on the production line or at the consumer/household level,” Inviroment co-founder and BYU student Devan Bennion told Triple Pundit.
The idea is that when applied to a landfill overflowing with plastic waste, PlasTek will accelerate degredation. Plastics that would normally have taken hundreds of years (or longer) to break down could be dissolved in 12-36 months. Deployed only at landfills that harvest methane emissions, PlasTek could produce enough additional energy “to power over 4,000 homes,” says Inviroment.
The company does claim that PlasTek is made from natural compounds, and “is completely environmentally friendly. It won’t hurt animals, create harmful toxins, or damage landfill liners or equipment.” Sounds pretty good right? Almost too good.
The company has already won a $100,000 grant at the Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan competition held in April, in Boulder, CO, and are now gathering additional funding on Indiegogo.