Jump to: navigation, search


This page is on the way to becoming a white paper on recycling plastics now littering our planet. Of course, the best way to work to fix this problem is to eliminate such litter by reducing consumption and changing patterns of discarding plastics. But prevention doesn't deal with the trillions of tons of waste plastic now covering the land and floating in our oceans.

My focus will be on how to remove plastics from the environment in a way that is cost-effective, and doesn't pretend that a few volunteers can pick our beaches clean, and keep them clean. Everywhere there is extreme poverty, there is extreme environmental degradation, and trash is completely out of control. All forms of trash are accumulating faster in the environment than they can decompose, and this is especially true of plastics, most of which will be in the environment longer than the humans that put them there. What is needed is a profitable way to remove trash from the environment, one which pays for the equipment and labor needed to do the job, and which does not cause further environmental harm along the way.

The Problem with Plastics

  • Volume. Overall, U.S. post-consumer plastic waste for 2008 was estimated at 33.6 million tons; 2.2 million tons (6.5%) were recycled and 2.6 million tons (7.7%) were burned for energy; 28.9 million tons, or 85.5%, were discarded in landfills.[1]. Plastics contribute to approximately 10% of discarded waste. Shoppers use and then discard about 500 billion single-use plastic bags each year. Because they decompose so slowly, as time passes, plastics constitute a higher and higher percentage of surviving trash. Today there are about 4 trillion pounds of plastic on the planet. 8 million tons of plastic floats into the ocean each year.[2]
  • Plastics persist. Decomposition is slow. The Marine Conservancy has predicted the decomposition rates of several plastic products. It is estimated that a foam plastic cup will take 50 years, a plastic beverage holder will take 400 years, disposable diaper will take 450 years, and fishing line will take 600 years to degrade.[3]
  • Persistent organic pollutants Discarded plastic transports persistent organic pollutants, also known as POPs. These pollutants have been linked to an increased distribution of algae associated with red tides.[4]. Some POPs have been linked to cancer. Others act as a synthetic estrogen, and might prove to be a cause of endocrine disruption in fish.[5]
  • Plastic Kills. Fish and sea birds that swallow it will carry it until they die. Plastics in the water column wash up on beaches. Adult birds may find the varied colors and shapes irresistible, and feed them to their young. For both young and old birds, indigestible bits may lodge in their guts, leading to death. Plastic used in nets entraps marine mammals and turtles. The film below illustrates this tragic problem.


Retrieving Plastics from Sand

Beach cleaners operate in two different ways.

  • Mechanical rakes have rows of offset tines that rake the sand, deflecting what they catch off a curved deflector shield and carrying the material up a moving conveyor. At the top, the materials are dropped into a bucket.
  • Sifting cleaners use a cutting edge to lift a layer of sand onto a vibrating screen. Sand falls through, and larger particles are carried up and dropped in a bucket.
  • Raking+sifting cleaners use rotating tines to scoop sand and debris onto a vibrating screen.

For oil spill cleanup, the sifters may work better than the mechanical rakes, because they make it less likely that the oil will break apart. (Once the oil has dried, the mechanical rakes work well too). But otherwise, the mechanical rake holds the advantage. It operates faster, and works fine when the sand is wet.

Both mechanical rakes and sifters are designed to operate by moving across the sand -- either self-propelled or towed by a tractor. For applications where trash will be trucked in, the sifting component of the sifter might be more easily adapted to stationary use.

Mechanical Rake. Barber's LP1 removes litter from the cleaning surface by using a rotating conveyor that contains hundreds of tines in offset rows. The process of litter removal proceeds as follows: Two casters maintain even cleaning coverage, while the tines capture debris and throw it against the moldboard. The materials then deflect off the moldboard and back onto the conveyor belt. The conveyor transports the debris to the bucket. The bucket can then be raised to dump its contents into a container, truck, or dumpster.[6]

Some, such as the Surf Rake Beach Cleaner S-Belt by Barber, can collect 96% of cigarette butts placed on a sandy beach.[7]

Mechanical sorting of debris could be done with a series of screen conveyors, each dumping its debris into the next. Small screen openings would be used on the first conveyor, and increasingly large openings on subsequent conveyors. This would allow efficient separation of sand (falling through the small screen), cigarette butts (small screen) from plastic bottles (large screen) and tires (falling out the back)

Beach cleaners remove natural materials -- rock, shell, coral, driftwood -- which probably should be returned to the beach, but also remove everything else -- nails, plastics, Styrofoam, broken glass, cigarette filters, syringes, stones, pop-tops, hardened tar balls, animal droppings etc. Screen size determines what is left behind, and in most machines, different screen sizes may be used.

Ideal: any collection of debris by dragging a beach should not collect turtle or bird eggs, ghost crabs, or other living things. Walk-behind cleaners may produce less compaction than those pulled by tractors.[8]

Retrieving Litter

Several companies make equipment to collect litter from grass, dirt, or paved surfaces[9]. They generally operate like the beach cleaners, using brushes (for roads) or tine rakes (for grass and dirt) to capture the litter and move it to the conveyor.

Retrieving Plastics from Water

The Baltimore Water Wheel

Baltimore is using a solar powered water wheel to scoop up floating plastic debris.[10]

  • History: Installed in Baltimore Harbor in May 2014 by the non-profit Waterfront Partnership.
  • Significance: "The world's first permanent water wheel trash interceptor"
  • Power: array of 30 solar panels and water currents from the Jones Falls River.
  • Cost: $750,000
  • Capacity: can collect 50,000 pounds of trash per day.
  • Accomplishments: Reported has removed 350 tons of litter from the harbor.

Power. A barge with a large water wheel is moored in the current of Jones Falls River. The barge is U-shaped, with a conveyor mounted up-stream, a water wheel on one side, and solar panels on the roof. Within the U floats another, smaller barge, which holds the dumpster. The water wheel is connected by a series of gears to a conveyor belt, which has one end in the water, the other over a dumpster that sits on the barge. Normally, the current turns the water wheel. But when the current is inadequate, solar panels provide electricity to pump water up and onto the water wheel. The water wheel then turns, powering the conveyor belt.

Capture: 2 floating booms in the current, attached to each side of the channel at the mouth of the river, deflects floating trash into an intake scoop. The scoop has a a set of rakes that move to nudge the floating trash onto a conveyor belt, and carried up and into a dumpster that sits on a second barge. When the current from the river is sluggish, the dumpster barge might collect just 1-2 garbage cans full of trash a day. But after a storm, the barge might collect 1 or 2 dumpsters full of trash. The video below shows how the dumpster is emptied.


Debris collected will have to be sorted. Ideally, some natural objects such as sea shells should be to where they were retrieved. Of the remainder, plastics will need to be separated from other items.

Plastic is a broad term, used to describe a wide number of synthetic or semi-synthetic organics. All plastic is recyclable, but must be recycled according to its specific chemical composition, or polymer type. To make recycling easier, plastic manufacturers have implemented a numeric SPI resin identification coding system[11]. The symbol of chasing arrows surrounding a number 1-7 on the bottom of many plastic containers is intended to aid with recycling by identifying 7 common plastics by polymer (resin):

  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE). Polyethylene has high impact strength and excellent compatibility with weak and concentrated acids, bases and alcohol. Polyethylene is used to manufacture waste bags, bottles, refuse containers, pumps and secondary containment platforms, food and medicine containers.
  2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Examples: milk jugs, trash bags, food and beverage containers.
  3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Polyvinyl chloride has excellent compatibility with almost all chemicals. Polyvinyl chloride is used to manufacture plumbing pipes, raincoats, footwear, earplugs, pumps, tubing, food wrap.
  4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE). Examples: Stretch film, squeeze bottles, bags.
  5. Polypropylene (PP). Polypropylene has relatively poor impact strength, but excellent compatibility with weak and concentrated acids, bases and alcohol. Examples: bottle caps, diapers, pallet straps, bottles, vials, pumps, funnels and clothing.
  6. Polystyrene (PS). Polystyrene has high strength and impact resistance and excellent compatibility with weak acids, alcohol and bases. Examples: Styrofoam, packaging foam, packaging peanuts, egg cartons, Ice buckets and scoops.
  7. Other. Engineered plastics. Examples: water cooler jugs, bottles, CDs. Polycarbonate (PC) has high impact strength and excellent compatibility with weak acids. Polycarbonate is commonly used to make non-breakable windows, safety eyewear and face shields. Polymethylpentene (PMP) has excellent compatibility with weak and concentrated acids, bases and alcohol. Polymethylpentene is commonly used to make beakers and graduated cylinders.[12]

Recycling plastic requires some basic separation of polymers by type:

  • if biodegradable plastic is commingled with non-biodegradable plastic, the result will be a product that neither has the integrity of non-biodegradable plastic nor the biodegradability of biodegradable plastic.
  • Some kinds of plastic cause deadly chemical reactions when mixed together. For instance, adding one PVC bottle to a 900 lb load of PET bottles can cause the entire load to be contaminated. This is because PVC and PET when mixed together form hazardous acids, or a dioxin emission, that is toxic to humans. If the contaminated load of PET went undetected, the toxic emissions created could pose a serious safety concern for employees at the processing facility.[13]
  • If incompatible plastics are melt blended by extrusion then cooled, the result will have a plane of weakness and develop cracks between the immiscible phases.

A sequence of techniques is used to sort different plastics.

  • Some plastics, such as film for wrapping pallets or sandwiches, are not amenable to automated sorting, and may need to be set aside.
  • Nearly all biodegradable plastics are used in rigid packaging, such as bottles, jars, and trays. Near infra red (NIR) can distinguish between biodegradable and non-biodegradable plastics, so a conveyor of bottles, jars, and trays can pass a NIR beam single file, and a puff of air can send the biodegradable items off to a separate bin.[14]

High speed sorters will normally use an array of sensors that learn what is passing on the conveyor, make a binary decision as to which of two conveyors a given object should go in, and use a puff of air to direct an object to one bin, gravity to direct it to the other. One sensor (or set of sensors) is required for each type of plastic that is to be separated. Because sort purity may be as low as 90-95%, manual quality control sorting normally follows machine sorting.[15]

Biodegradable plastics will experience 60%-90% decomposition in 60-180 days in a composting environment.[16] It is possible that ocean beach debris contains very little biodegradable plastic, because most will have already degraded.

Different plastics differ in specific gravity, so flotation can be used to further separate plastics. LDPE, HDPE, and PP are all likely to float, while PET and PVC are likely to sink when placed in water. A Float Sink requires heavy water usage, water treatment, size reduction and final washing to eliminate salt residues and final drying of the recovered plastic stream, and is much more energy intensive than optical systems.[17] Further, densimetric sorting of plastic materials is imperfect, and must be used in conjunction with other techniques if fine discrimination is desired.[18]

Northstar Recycling claims[19] that PS sinks in water, but this is not my experience with Styrofoam, packaging peanuts, packaging foam, insulation, and egg cartons, all of which can be found on beaches and at the edge of rivers.

Automated sorting techniques are developing rapidly, but are still imperfect.

Black plastic, common in electronic and automotive waste, can not be sorted by polymer type using NIR, because the black color absorbs the infrared beam. TeTechS offers a terahertz plastic sorting system that can handle black plastic, using a Rigel spectrometer.[20]

Sorting equipment is expensive, from $50,000 up depending on make, model, and sophistication[21]. In first world countries, automated sorting is likely cheaper than manual sorting, but in poor parts of the world, this situation is likely reversed. Any project for the third world might assume human labor to do the sorting.

Shredding or Granulation

Once a supply of a given type of polymer has been gathered, it needs to be shredded or granulated so that it can then be fed into a extrusion molder, filament extruder, Blest Machine, or other processor.

Granulators operate with lower torque than shredders, and so may encounter trouble if there is non-plastic material in their input stream. Shredders may be inefficient in cutting loose laundry-detergent bottles that might bounce around. If the output is to be mixed with virgin pellets in a molding machine or extruder, shredded scrap may need to pass through a granulator to give it optimal size and uniformity. The pros and cons of granulators v. shredders is reviewed [[1]].

  • A granulator such as the PRM 3HP Industrial Plastic Granulator is available new for under $3,000, will granulate PS, PP, PET and HDPE plastics, and will create granules that are 6 mm in diameter or smaller.[22]
  • A small shredder, which can handle plastic bottles and soda cans (one at a time) is available from ProALP. See a video here[23].
  • FilaMaker offers a mini shredder kit for about $750. It can be operated by a hand crank or motor[24]
  • Plans for a DIY shredder may be found here[25]

Because a shredder dramatically reduces the volume of the input bottles and cans, a low-cost shredder could be built into a public recycle bin, and activated when there was an object in the hopper. Collection of recycles might then be less frequent and more efficient.

Sorting is more efficient if done before shredding. A shredder can reduce nearly everything to shreds -- PVC, rubber hoses, plastic buckets, tires, metal cans, and so on -- so if waste is first sorted, then each type may be passed through the same shredder, one type at a time, with efficient cleaning of the shredder between uses.


If shredding is followed by compaction, the result will be cheaper to transport.

What to Do with Collected Debris

Most plastic debris will not be conveniently collected at the doors of a plastic recycling plant. Transporting plastic to such a plant will be a major cost of recycling. It would be desirable to have some means of locally compacting collected plastics, so that their transportation can be more efficient.


EDCI offers gasification that destroys hazardous effluents and emissions and includes:

  • pre-processing of variable waste or other organic feedstock (e.g. coal, municipal solid waste, agricultural and animal waste, sewage sludge, used tires, waste plastics, medical waste, etc.);
  • pyrolysis of single or multiple streams of organic feedstock resulting in the production of synthesis gas (CO and H2) and inert residue;
  • processing the synthesis gas into either liquid fuels (through a series of catalytic reactions) or into electricity (through combustion in a turbine or engine); and
  • processing the inert residue from the pyrolysis process into usable products (e.g. aggregate for fertilizer, building materials, etc.) [26]

Combustible gases that are produced may be stored and/or used immediately to power the unit. In California, a plant costing $15.5 million is producing 13,000 gallons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) daily, powering 300 garbage trucks.[27]

See this home-made gasifier that uses wood pellets to run a generator. By adding a gasifier, a car or tractor can be made to run on wood pellets.[28]


Plastic might be recycled into bricks or blocks, for use in construction.

  • Plastics do not conduct heat well, and would provide some insulation when used in constructions.
  • Plastics could be formed into interlocking blocks, patterned after Lego blocks. Such blocks would be lightweight, and the walls of a house would be easy to assemble. Doors and windows might also be made, using Legos as prototypes. Mortar might be optional.

A good shape for bricks from plastic might be that of the Lego Brick. It appears that the designs involved in these blocks are not protected IP, despite the efforts of Lego[29], and a number of companies now offer Lego-compatible bricks, including Mini Mega Bloks, DUPLO, Tyco, and KRE-O.


A variation on the Lego brick format: the air space within a block could be filled with those plastic beads that did not melt when heated to the moulding temperature. This could be done by creating a compartment in the block, filling it, and sealing it. This would make them heavier, and help dispose of the waste.

If housing kits are to be sold, the Lego Digital Designer might play a role in creating packaged sets of parts for various designs.[30]

Lego bricks could be made with a 3-d printer, or with an injection molder. The injection molder is likely the quicker route. The photo below shows Lego-like bricks made from a home molder. toy_block.jpg To create bricks of an architectural size, the dimensions should be similar to those of masonry bricks: about 8.5" x 4" x 2.5". The LNS Model-150A can handle a mold size (outside dimensions) of 8" x 5" x 5", so it is close the capacity needed. It will handle PE, PP, PS, ACETAL, Acrylic, EVA, TPE, PLA, ABS, but not Polycarbonate, Nylon, or PVC (because they require more than 490 degrees F to melt).[31] Lego makes its bricks from ABS[32], but for production of masonry bricks, any moldable plastic should do.

The LNS 150A can make 3 Lego-size bricks per minute. If it were made just a bit larger, it could make construction-size bricks.

Molds for various projects can be custom-made by BenchtopMold.com and HobbyMolds.com[33]


  1. could such a large object be created with a manual injection molder? (If so, do you have suggestions for manufacturer/model that could do this?)
  2. can a mold be created from Legos themselves or from blueprints for Legos, using the Lego dimensions and enlarging the whole thing?


Parley for the Oceans is an international organization dedicated to cleaning the oceans. Parley for the Oceans works with collection partners to capture plastic from beaches around the world.[34]

Bionic Yarn, in turn, uses plastic bottles salvaged in Indonesia to create yarn. Bionic chops the bottles into small pieces, which are then melted and pulled apart. The bottles are chosen over other plastics because they were made with high safety standards that help ensure that yarn made from them will be safe for human use.[35]

G-Star RAW creates garments made from fabric which is made from Bionic Yarn. [36]


Exciting new research is exploring the ability of waxworms (Plodia interpunctella) and mealworms(Tenebrio molitor) to digest polystyrene[37], all with the help of a gut bacteria Exiguobacterium sp. strain YT2[38]

Assuming that ways are found to efficiently culture the responsible bacteria and introduce them to our world's mountain of plastic, this story will have a happy ending. For now, it seems possible to feed polystyrene to mealworms, and at some point separate the adults who have morphed from the larvae, along with their poop, and grind it all up to make fertilizer.


Filabot is an open source filament extruder that turns ABS or PLA thermoplastic pellets into 3d printable filament. It is available as a low-cost kit or assembled[39]. Because it can be set to stay constant at any temperature between 40 and 350°C, it might be usable for extruding other plastics into filament.

Recyclebot is the result of an open-source international project. It allows the user to select the type of plastic input from a keypad, updating the extrusion temperature automatically. Extrusion doesn't begin until the correct extrusion temperature is achieved. In can reach maximum temperature of 500°C instantly, a temperature that vaporizes almost all types of plastic.[40] Recyclebot can work with shredded plastic.

Filament could be an end product, or could be used in a 3-D printer to create trinkets, machine parts, or most anything.


Pyrolysis -- heating in the absence of oxygen -- can be used to create oil from plastics such as grocery bags. The Blest Machine, created by Akinori Ito, uses pyrolysis to produce a liter of unrefined oil for every kilogram of plastic that is fed into it. It accepts as input polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PS). Plastics should be clean before inserting into the Blest Machine.[41]

Blest machines are now available that operate in batch mode or continuous mode, and a small refiner machine for the hydrocarbon oil output is also available. The batch mode Blest machine can create 1 liter of oil using 1 Kg of plastic and 1 KW of electricity[42] according to a user, and according to the manufacturer, 286g/380ml of oil from 400g of household plastic waste in about 3.5 hours, using about 1 KW/h of electricity. Larger scale machine in production can process about 2,000 Kg/day. The refiner can refine mixed plastic, yielding gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil and heavy oil equivalents.[43]

Some questions:

  • Acceptable inputs appear to be any type of plastic. True?
  • Regardless of inputs, there do not appear to be any dangerous byproducts. True?
  • It appears that a diesel engine can be powered by the unrefined output. True?


These inventions need much more attention. They could be powered by burning the syngas coming off the process, or by running on electricity produced by a generator modified to run on the gas. Perhaps a solar concentrator could be used to heat the plastic.[44] Could they be designed so that a vehicle could be powered by plastic?


CNN reports that Dr. S. Madhu of the Kerala Highway Research Institute, India, has formulated a road surface that includes recycled plastic: aggregate, bitumen (asphalt) with plastic that has been shredded and melted at a temperature below 220 degrees C (428 °F) to avoid pollution. This road surface is claimed to be very durable and monsoon rain resistant. The plastic is sorted by hand, which is economical in India. The test road used 60 kg of plastic for an approximately 500m-long, 8m-wide, two-lane road. The process chops thin-film road-waste into a light fluff of tiny flakes that hot-mix plants can uniformly introduce into viscous bitumen with a customized dosing machine. Tests at both Bangalore and the Indian Road Research Center indicate that roads built using this 'KK process' will have longer useful lives and better resistance to cold, heat, cracking, and rutting, by a factor of three.[45]


Recycled glass and plastic bottles can be arranged in concrete to create structures, such as houses.[46]

Even better for the recycling world: papercrete may be used in place of much or all of the concrete.[47] In making the papercrete, shredded plastic may be added to the paper, creating more strength. There are ways to make a papercrete mixer for about $250.[48] A test mixer can be made with a plastic mixer on a drill, with a 5 gallon bucket.

Hydroponic Grow Bottles

If the top is removed from a green soda bottle, and water and a bit of fertilizer are added, you've created a pleasant home for a head of hydroponically grown bibb lettuce or other vegetable. Hydroponics would be useful in areas where there isn't much available water, because it allows the gardener to concentrate their limited water supply. There are instructions on how to create grow bottles here.


Plastic lumber has many benefits.

  • It is long-lasting and maintenance free
  • Does not need painting and resists most graffiti
  • It does not splinter, crack, chip, absorb moisture, or rot.
  • It resists salt, acids, and bacteria.
  • It is unaffected by termites, rodents, marine parasites.
  • It does not leech toxins or carcinogens into the environment
  • It resists UV, mold, and mildew.
  • It is easy to clean.[49]

Plastic lumber can be made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) such as bottles, grocery bags, milk jugs, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber, or Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) such as plastic bags, 6 pack rings, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, and tubing. Each plastic will bring its own benefits and issues. One suggestion is to focus on HDPE such as milk jugs, which will give the lumber good structural strength. Commercial plastic lumber uses milk jugs. A standard 8' picnic table uses about 3,200 milk jugs.[50]

The steps go like this:

  1. wash and shred your plastic source. For more strength, create pellets from your source.
  2. bring it to near melting temperature
  3. when it is sticky like gum, mash it to distribute the shredded components.
  4. while still pliable, put it into a board-shaped form.

There is a bit of documentation for this process here, and some good comments to consider.

Variations on this would focus on a single plastic source, and heat pellets of that material with a thermostatically controlled heater, then inject it into a mold that would give it the desired shape. A wood grain might be created by the mold.

Molds could be used to create solid or hollow 2x4s, 4x8 sheets like plywood, and any other size and shape that wood comes in.


Empty plastic beverage bottles are collected, sorted, chipped into flakes, and screened.

Washing then removes caps, labels & contaminants. Washing uses an alkaline, cationic detergent and water to remove labels, and an agitator works as an abrasive, stripping the adhesive off labels and shredding any paper that is mixed in with the plastics.

The washed flakes are heated, further screened and cleaned, dried and placed in a vented extruder. The extruder creates thin noodle-like tubes, and after cooling they are cut into small pellets by a set of rotating knives to make plastic pellets.

Pelleting of plastic bags is done in the same way as bottles, except that bags are chopped rather than chipped.[51]


Sink or Swim. An artificial reef needs to be constructed from materials that are denser than saltwater, to ensure that it sinks. The greater the density, the less likely the reef will be disturbed by a storm.

Sea water has an average specific gravity of 1.025. Only a few plastics -- TPX Polymethylpentene, Polypropylene, and Polyethylene have lower specific gravities, meaning that they will float.[52] So others, if not mixed with air, should sink. Polystyrene is heavier than water, but when gas is blown into it to make styrofoam, it becomes lighter than water, and floats.

Styrofoam could be densified, creating structures that are suitable as reefs, and then dumped in the ocean. Or densified to create construction "lumber".


ProjectSeafood is a small Swiss project that collects plastic waste on beaches, cleaning and drying it, then shredding it and creating filament, which is then used in a 3-D printer to make trinkets.[53]

Efforts in Haiti

In this section, I discuss what is being done to clean up trash in a poor country such as Haiti, which is sinking in trash. According to The Guardian, "The vast majority of solid waste – including plastics, polystyrene, polythene and other non-biodegradable materials – is either not collected at all or simply thrown into open municipal dumps and shallow landfills. The long-term health, economic and environmental impacts for Haiti could be catastrophic."[54]

The Mess in Haiti

Haiti is becoming famous for its litter. Things were not good before the earthquake in January, 2010. Before the earthquake, Haiti was ranked lowest on the UN Human Development Index in the Western Hemisphere. Half of those living in the capital had no access to latrines, and only 1/3 had access to tap water.

The earthquake killed between 220,000 and 316,000 (no one even knows how many!), injured 300,000, and displaced 1.5 million. The level of destruction would have rocked any country, but for a poor country like Haiti, recovering was even more difficult. Impacting recovery: 60% of government buildings were destroyed or damaged, and 25% of the civil servants in the capital died.

With no clean water, Cholera broke out, killing another 6,000 and affecting 216,000. Relief efforts, in some ways, made things worse. Shipped in to supply clean water, millions of donated plastic water and soda bottles soon dotted the landscape. In an effort to dispose of the mess, many were burned, putting tons of toxic chemicals into the air.

In Port-au-Prince, the capital, sewage is carried in the city's canals, which have become choked with waste. Because waste is every where, and because there are no trash bins or other official receptacles for trash, when someone is finished with something, they simply discard it in the street. Such trash is combed through again and again by trash pickers, collecting some and leaving behind trash with even lower recycle value.


Marie Satty, 52, digs through roadside trash in Carrefour, Haiti, for empty plastic bottles to sell to a recycling center.

Today, the average annual per capita income is about $350. The poorest 20% of the population makes do with just 1% of Haitian income.[55]

Haiti has the potential to benefit from the right projects. Consider:

  • Haiti is a low-wage country close to the world’s largest consumer market.
  • The Haitian government is now very supportive of export activity.[56]
  • Shipping goods from Haiti is a bargain because containers importing humanitarian aid often leave empty.
  • There is reason to think that many would appreciate work that they could do from home, as entrepreneurs. "Haitians do not work for money alone. They cherish their independence above all... Haiti needs to create a unique economic model, a 21st-century lakou that bypasses a top-down system in favor of small enterprises multiplied many times over. "[57]
  • Haiti has a viable tourist industry, which would benefit from a cleaner, more attractive landscape.

Recycling Hubs

Haiti appears to have several recycling companies that are able to process recyclables: Haiti Recycling may have the most publicity, but ECSSA may be the most sophisticated in its sorting. At this writing, it is not known if any local companies do anything with the recycled material they collect, other than to export it to Miami or elsewhere by ship.


Environmental Cleaning Solutions S.A. (ECSSA) operates a material recovery facility based in Port au Prince, Haiti which collects recyclable products; specifically PET, HDPE, LDPE, Tin, OCC, and Aluminum. ECSSA provides bags to individual collectors, and sends trucks to retrieve what they have collected. ECSSA collects over 80 tons of solid waste per day.[58]

Haiti Recycling

Haiti Recycling recycles ferrous, nonferrous, specialty alloys, batteries, paper and plastic. Peddlers bring the scrap they have collected in two-wheeled carts, which are weighed before the peddlers sort the material under the supervision of Haiti Recycling employees. After sorting, each grade is weighed again, and the total value of the load is determined. ScrapRight software is used to track each transaction, and prepare a ticket. Peddlers take their tickets to pay windows, where the ticket is scanned and they are paid. Grade sorting and classification of nonferrous, plastic, paper and specialty alloys are handled by Haiti Recycling team members within those departments.

The company operates Harris Selco and Max-Pak balers within the nonferrous, paper and plastic departments. The ferrous department uses an Al-Jon 400XL and a Sierra 4200 to log or bale its ferrous material.

In the plastic department, the company handles a large flow of PET bottles that pass through a bottle processing line. It consists of a delabeler, a grinder and a sink/float separation tank to deliver clean PET and PVC. Each of these commodities then passes through a drying process before automatically being loaded into bulk sack containers for export to Miami.[59]

Tropical Recycling

Tropical Recycling collects dirty plastics -- primarily PET and HDPE -- and aluminum, and bales, then loads the bales into containers and ships them to the US, China, and Mexico.[60]

Suppliers of Haiti Recycling

Haiti Recycling has many feeder organizations which collect trash. They include:

  • Ramase Lajan
  • Sustainable Recycling Solution - Haiti

Other contributors/partners include Samaritan's Purse, Executives Without Borders, and CSS International Holdings.


UMCOR’s Facilitating Alleviation of Trash through Recycling Associations (FATRA) program, helps reduce the amount of trash in Bobin, a suburb of Port-au-Prince in Haiti, while generating income for individuals that wish to recycle. Community members will collect discarded plastic from the streets and sell it to the COTECDP (Coopérative tête Ensemble pour la Collecte des Déchets Plastiques), the community group that is managing the center. Such collectors may make about $14/day. The COTECDP will sell the plastic to Haiti Recycling. Then Haiti Recycling will grind the plastic into chips and sell it to customers around the world to make purses, shoes, and other items for sale. Profit made by the cooperative will be used to pay the center’s employees and to share among the cooperative members.[61]

Ramase Lajan

Ramase Lajan -- “Picking up Money” in Créole -- is a solution to several major problems throughout Haiti.

Recycling centers are built inside a 20-foot sea container and include a scale, 200 bulk cargo sacks, personal protective gear for sorting personnel, and seed money to begin buying plastic.

Each center is run by a Haitian franchise owner selected through an application and interview process coordinated by local churches. Franchisees receive a $2,000 loan in three installments to cover start-up capital and to defray the cost of the large shipping container that serves as their recycling center building.[62]

The investment to establish each center is provided through numerous NGO and private groups. Logistics is handled through a range of firms that already have trucks operating throughout Haiti. Currently 28 centers are in operation in the country.[63]

Here's how this recycling effort works:

  1. People collect plastic and sell it to a Ramase Lajan Center at a publicized fair market price. Peddlers are paid 4 Haitian gourdes (about 10 cents) per pound. The recycling centers are conveniently located within neighborhoods; for a peddler to travel to Haiti Recycling’s only location would generally require too many resources to justify the trip.[64]
  2. The Center sorts, crushes and transports the plastic to its local partner, Haiti Recycling The sorting at a center is done by three to five employees who weigh, sort, clean, and stuff plastic bottles in bags in preparation for transport to Haiti Recycling. Franchisees make a profit of 1.5 gourdes per pound, plus they receive an additional 15 percent on the entire amount from Haiti Recycling.[65]
  3. Haiti Recycling reimburses the Center’s payout costs, provides money to cover transport costs and pays out a guaranteed profit margin
  4. Haiti Recycling washes and grinds the plastic into a valuable flake product and sells it on the world market
  5. Haiti Recycling uses its profits to buy more plastic from the communities.
  6. With the help of donors offsetting start-up costs, Ramase Lajan is placing community collection centers throughout the country. These centers, which are franchise locations of Haiti Recycling, are individually owned and operated by Haitian entrepreneurs. This model gives talented individuals the chance to provide for their families and help provide income and employment for others while cleaning up the communities where they live.[66]

The program provides income for over 1,500 people daily and has so far recycled over 60 million bottles and trained over 170,000 people in health and sanitation.[67] In Haiti, a pound of plastic -- about 19 bottles -- is worth about 10 cents. A typical person collecting bottles makes between $5 and $10 a day, but can make as much as $20-$30/day.[68]

Sustainable Recycling Solutions - Haiti

Individual collectors scavenge for PET bottles, bag them, and take them to collection centers. (It appears that some individual collectors may run their own centers -- this is not clear at this writing.)

SRS picks up collected PET bottles several times a month, depending on volume, and takes the bottles to its processing facility, where the bottles are baled with a System Ten Sixty vertical baler[69].

Collected bottles are delivered to Haiti Recycling.[70]

Consumers of the Shredded Output

Thread and Moop

Thread International is a Pittsburgh-based company that creates a smooth polyester-type fabric from the plastic flake that Haiti Recycling exports. The mint green thread is made from recycled plastic bottles from Haiti. The plastic flake is green if it comes from green bottles, and creates green fibers that can only be dyed darker colors. Clear plastic bottles creates thread that can be dyed any color. Thread sells its fabric wholesale.[71]

Moop is a Pittsburgh-based manufacturing company that will create tote bags, backpacks, and other bags from Thread's fabric.[72]

Comprehensive Cleanup and Recycling: Project Notes

The recycling in Haiti described above is an important step toward cleaning up Haiti, but only a first step. At this writing, only the high-value PET bottles are of interest to the program, and all other trash appears to be left behind as this collection effort takes hold. Judging from images of Haiti's litter, a more comprehensive program is needed. In this section, we explore requirements of recycling it all.

Ideally, funding from a non-profit would purchase equipment that could be used for recycling some waste from point of collection through processing to point of sale. Profits could then be used to pay collectors, improve equipment to handle more volume, and to expand the number of materials recycled.

In Haiti, this process might initially favor an initial focus on waste that was:

  • most available (such as Styrofoam food containers)
  • most easily converted to a salable product.

Local Collection

Trash needs to be collected where it is found. This can include urban areas and small villages where it is created, dumps where it is taken, and seaside beaches where currents, waves, and the tide take it. Collection has a cost, so the system needs to be able to compensate collectors.


In Haiti, styrofoam cups and food containers comprise a huge proportion of the total trash.


Styrofoam containers in one of the many drainage canals in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Most dump into the Caribbean Sea after passing through poor neighbourhoods, like this one in Cité Soleil, where the human and animal fecal matter, styrofoam, and other trash regularly flood the zone after heavy rains. Credit: HGW/Marc Schindler Saint-Val

Our plan will be to place collection bins near the source, collect and densify the foam, and sell it to a buyer.

Styrofoam™ is polystyrene foam insulation, also known as Expanded Polystrene (EPS) foam. Only about 5% of a foam package is polystyrene. The remainder is air.

Styrofoam contains benzene, which is a carcinogen. It is not biodegradable, and not even degradable without the use of a solvent. When ingested, it often blocks an animal's digestive tract. Styrofoam consumes about 30% of landfill space.[73]

Styrofoam is easily recycled.


Densifiers that compact loose foam into dense blocks may operate on hydraulic, thermal, screw drive, or hybrid approaches. A 48-foot truckload of baled foam weighs only around 16,000 pounds, whereas a truckload of densified foam weighs 40,000 pounds. New densifiers cost as little as $18,000. Hydraulic densifiers use hydraulic pressure to compact the foam and eliminate its memory. With a continuous operation model, the foam is extruded into a dense log. Hydraulic densifiers do not use heat to compact the foam and produce no smoke or odors. They can effectively process various densities of foam at the same time without melting in the machine. Since city foam recycling programs receive a mixed stream of foam materials, this feature makes hydraulic densifiers ideal.[74]

Styrofoam waste might command $.25/pound, but is cumbersome to transport: Uncompacted, a tractor trailer might only be able to hold 3,000 pounds, or $750 worth. Densification increases the value of Styrofoam waste: The same trailer can haul 40,000 pounds of densified foam, with a value $9,500.[75]

Many Densifiers are available. The Sebright D120 can process 800 to 1200 lbs per hour, creating output weight 16-22 lbs per cubic foot. Options are available to automatically shear output, to provide an input conveyor (allowing humans to manually discard inappropriate waste), and more.[76] The output of these units is usually formed into continuous, squared "logs", which can be easily cut or broken into convenient lengths for storage. The unique shape is ideal for stacking and easily arranged in palette ties for storage and/or shipment.[77]

Other products are from Foam Equipment and Consulting[78], Avangardinnovative[79], Polymax[80]

New densifier systems – which include both a grinder and densifier – cost as little as $18,000 - $20,000 for units that will process 100 pounds of loose polystyrene foam per hour. These are better suited for single-site collection programs (like a school), commercial loading dock environments, or drop-off programs that want to densify on-site. Larger densifier systems that will process 500 pounds of loose polystyrene foam per hour cost around $45,000 - $50,000. These are better suited for Material Recovery Facilities.[81]


There are many buyers of recycled Styrofoam -- see this list. So after densification, the foam might be shipped via container to locations such as 4G Recycling in Fort Lauderdale[82].

Local Use as a Building Material

Shredded polystyrene can be used as a concrete aggregate. In the EnStyro approach, a Foam Shredder (about $6000) shreds to a pre-determined size, ranging from 1/8" to 2". A Size Separator (about $1,450) then separates out any fines (particles smaller than a certain size. The foam pellets produced may be used in the place of gravel and mixed with cement to form concrete that is light, strong, and has good insulating properties.[83]

Local Processing

Some processing might be done locally, converting some trash to a salable product, so that local collectors and processors can be compensated. It will be easiest to do this when:

  • it is economical to do basic sorting manually, because local wages are low
  • there is a local source of inexpensive power. For instance, if the region is good for solar power, or wind power, or if there is flowing or tidal water for water power, then these energy sources can be harnessed to power processing equipment.

Local processing need not be complete. If only a fraction of all trash could be profitably recycled locally, the balance could be manually sorted, baled and shipped to one or more central locations, where modern equipment could process the remains.

In the two models below, "the facility" is a yard that contains a sorting conveyor. Bulk bags are emptied into a chute, which feeds the conveyor. Local workers stand next to the conveyor, and pull items off the belt, dropping them into dumpsters positioned beneath their feet. As a dumpster fills, its contents are fed to a baler. Bales are stacked by type, and truckloads of bales are delivered for export.

Collectors Sort, are Compensated

  • Collectors operate out of their homes. They collect all trash, and sort it in their yard into large bulk bags.[84]
  • A truck arrives and loads those bags which are full. Truck might have a small crane mounted that could pick up one bag at a time by its handles, and place it in the bed of the truck, or on a pallet on a lift gate. The crane might contain a crane scale on its cable, that would show the weight of the bag. Or the truck might have a small truck-mounted forklift, with a forklift scale[85].

Weight and contents would be recorded by the driver, with the collector watching. A calculation of the total value of the pickup would be made, and the collector would be paid.

  • quality control: Each bag would have a unique number on it, and these numbers would be recorded along with contents and weight. At the facility, bags would be dumped into a conveyor, where human sorters would remove foreign items, dropping them onto a second conveyor. The total weight of the foreign items would be deducted from a future payment to the collector associated with this bag number.
  • Issue: will rainwater get into all bags, adding to their weight? Must they be stored in a shed? Do they need a drain hole or two at the bottom?
  • Issue: will collectors be offended by the deductions from their pay for prior foreign contamination?

Collectors are Compensated for Unsorted Trash, Others are Compensated to Sort

  • Collectors operate out of their homes. They collect all trash, and place it in bulk bags (or a dumpster) without sorting it. The collector is paid by the bag, a flat rate that has been determined by its likely average value.
  • A truck collects the bags or dumpsters, and takes them to a sorting facility.
  • Sorters, paid by the hour, sort into various bins, by type of refuse.

In any model, there are lots of issues:

  • how to ensure that all trash is captured, including the low-value stuff
  • how many sorted types do we want? We don't want to sort again, if we can help it.
  • how can a single truck effectively contain multiple compartments? Is there a way to adjust compartment size depending on need (e.g., if someone only has type X, can we expand the compartment for X?)

After collection, local workers could be paid hourly wages to sort the waste that is collected by machine (such as with a beach cleaner, litter cleaner, or water wheel.) and brought in in bulk.

Individual collectors could be paid to collect trash, and be paid by the pound. They would deliver to the recycling station where their load would be weighed. They would then sort their trash into separate containers (or might have presorted it), and finally be paid. Such collectors might be issued hats or t-shirts to help give them community status.

Other workers could be paid to do quality control. A container of one type of waste might be sent down a conveyor belt, and these workers might pull deviant trash from the stream. They might be paid by the hour and/or by the weight of deviant trash removed from the stream.

Once basic separation had been made, some waste would be reprocessed locally, and other waste would be baled for shipment to reprocessors.

Local Power

In an outlying area, a recycling facility might provide power to the immediate region, converting waste into usable energy. State-of-the-art gasification technology can convert MSW (Municipal Solid Waste), coal, tires, bio waste (manure), etc. to gas to run an electric generator/turbine or convert to liquid fuels (diesel, jet fuel, unleaded gas, etc.), to power cars, trucks, boats, planes, farm tractors, etc. This power production might use all of the low-value sorted output, reserving the metals and plastics for recycling and specific uses.

Just as clever as gasification: converting paper to fuel pellets. Former President Bill Clinton explains how paper trash can be shredded, mixed with water, compressed, chopped further, mixed with free sawdust, and inserted into canisters. A press than compresses the stick created in each canister, extruded, and sliced. Slices are placed in the sun to dry. A slice sells for 1 penny. Four can cook a family's meal, compared with 20 cents worth of charcoal created by cutting and burning trees.[86]

Local Manufacturing

A way to provide jobs and income to locals in poor areas is to manufacture products that are necessarily labor intensive, and that have local, regional, or world-wide demand.

There are many labor-intensive things that can be made from recycled materials. Different local operations might be given different products, so that they didn't compete with each other and drive prices down. Here are some examples:

  • Jewelry. 3d printers can create trinkets for charm bracelets. Injection molding can create beads.
  • Christmas ornaments. These can be made with 3D printers, then hand painted.
  • Plastic Figures. Toy soldiers, cowboys and Indians, fantasy diorama, civil war, model railroad, winter village, chess pieces, and other small pieces are easily made[87]. They can be molded from HDPE and PET, and manual labor is needed to trim the sprues and flash and optionally to paint them. Molds are available[88] Painting a plastic figure, if well-done, can raise its retail price ten fold, judging by a quick search of Amazon. Some painting advice may be found here, a hint at the value that painting adds to a plastic figure may be found here. Plastic figures might be made only from food-safe recycled plastics, such as HDPE (milk jugs, beverage containers) and PET (water bottles, food containers) to help ensure the safety of the products produced.

Equipment Needed Locally

  • Baler for sorted waste that is not used locally.
  • Shredder, such as the Cruncher or Filamaker. Manual operation. See [#Pelletizers_and_Shredders|Pelletizers and Shredders] (about $750)
  • Plastic injection molding machine such as the PIM-Shooter 150A, about $1,500.[89]
  • 400 W electricity for the molding machine. The Renogy 400W Solar Panel Starter Kit is available for about $650., with another $100 needed to complete the system.[90]
  • If plastic figures are produced, then painting equipment will be needed if figures are to be sold painted.


Experiment! Build an injection molding machine with a good temperature control, and learn what happens to plastic bits. See here.[91]

Proposed process:

  • shred plastic. Use a screw?
  • feed into an injection molding machine. Use solar for heat? to what temperature?
  • do plastics need to be separated? If a modest heat is used, then some plastic particles will not have melted, and will be engulfed by particles that have melted...
  • danger? At what temperature might some plastic catch fire? at what temperature would dangerous chemicals vaporize, and endanger user?
  • are any additives needed?
  • could the machine be made cheaply? could it be portable?

Different plastics melt at different temperatures. If collected plastics were cut into small pieces, then gradually heated, those pieces with a given melting point would melt when that temperature was reached, and could be drained out. Raising the temperature more would allow other kinds of plastic to melt and be drained out, and so on.

A solar oven. Insulated. Use parabolic mirror to focus sun or solar panels to create electricity to create heat, or create hot water directly from solar panels. see REI solar stove. need to add a thin layer of beads, heat to X, allow melt to drip out into mold for X, then heat to X2, allow melt to drip out into mold for X2, etc.

If we are just going to make "bricks", might not need to be so fancy. If device can create pure plastics of various types, then there might be reasonable market value.


3D Printers

3D printers are still in their infancy, but growing up fast. Fast 3D printers are now hitting the market. Carbon3D now offers a 3D printing methogs that may be 25-100 times as fast as other resin printing techniques.[92]. Gizmo 3D is offering a family of printers with similar speeds, at prices below $5,000.[93]


Plastic is light weight, and the shapes of plastic waste items, such as bottles, mean that how much can be hauled is governed by volume, rather than weight. A baler will compact recyclables prior to transport, allowing more weight to be trucked.

If collectors can sort their collections, then the truck that arrives to retrieve can bale by type, and the bales can be stowed on the truck.

Filament Extruders

  • Ewe Filament Extruder. Includes automatic spooler. From about $870 to $1200.[94]
  • Felfil is a DIY filament extruder designed and built for domestic use. It has been tested for extruding PLA and ABS into filament spools, but is also ready to test polymers with a higher melting temperature, such as PET. [95]
  • Filabot. Prices from $500 for a kit to $2,150.[96]
  • Filastruder Kit. About $300.[97]
  • Lyman filament extruder[98]
  • Noztek offers a high temperature extruder for about $18,200. Various options are available.[99] The Noztek Pro ABS and PLA Filament Extruder for 3D Printers is available for about $1,100. The Noztek Pro will make a 1KG of filament in just 1-2 hours from ABS, PLA, HDPE, HIPS, UPVC or other plastic.[100]
  • Plastic Bank Extruder. Open source. [101]
  • ProtoCycler from ReDeTec can produce filament from PLA and ABS waste at 5 to 10 feet a minute. All is automated, except the hand-crank grinder. Producing a 1 Kg spool takes about 2 hours. The product includes a grinder for recycling and a winder. Units will have a retail price of $700.[102]
  • Strooder. Under $400.[103]

There are instructions for building an extruder here. Construction could be adapted to extrude in different diameters, and a winder could be added. If bench mounted with a good winder, the device seems capable of creating filament much faster than many of the products listed above.

Filament Winder/Spooler

  • Filabot Spooler. Priced at $600. "In addition to conveniently spooling your extruded filament, this unit allows you to easily fine tune the extrusion diameter for the tightest possible tolerances. This is achieved through adjusting the speed of the puller wheels which draw the filament from the extruder. The puller wheels have been engineered to be non-compressive which preserves the quality of the extrusion."[104] It can wind 1 mm to 4 mm filament.
  • FilaFab offers a winder that will use a combination of sensors to automatically coil the filament onto the spool at a controlled rate. They also offer FilePull, an optical width sensor and precision motor drive system to pull the filament to the required diameter. FilaPull may be used between the extruder and the winder, for full control over filament diameter.[105]
  • FilaWinder. The lowest price offering in this listing, about $160. [106]
  • The Noztek Filament Winder includes a laser sensor to control spool speed. It can wind both 1.75mm and 3mm filament and produce a smoothly wound spool of 1 Kg of filament. Price: about $877.[107]

Injection Molders

Injection molders need a mold, which can be made from epoxy, machines from metal, or created in a 3-D printer. In any technique, we start with a model of what we will create. The model may be created from wood, metal, carving wax, plastic, or other material.

  • Epoxy molds are straight-forward to make.[108] Epoxy mold-making material is available from many sources.[109]
  • Machines molds are usually made from aluminum bar stock. They may start with a CAD drawing and then be given to a machinist for completion.

Benchtop injectors use electricity to melt plastic, and are operated with a lever that the operator must press down, supplying the pressure to force plastic into the mold.[110] [111] [112] translating the operator's effort to the required pressure. The most common hobby injection machine uses a lever that enables the user to generate roughly 250 pounds-force (1.1 kN) of downward force.

Polyethylene (both LDPE and HDPE), polypropylene, and polystyrene (including HIPS) have all been used successfully with lever-actuated benchtop injectors. Higher pressure injection molders are able to work with tougher plastics.

Benchtop injectors require the operator to manually tighten the two halves of the mold, press the nozzle of the injector tightly against the mold, inject melted polymer into the mold, wait for the mold to cool, then remove the finished part from the mold. Production injectors perform these steps automatically, and so both cost more and produce faster.

Desktop and industrial injection molding machines are available on ebay for as little as $250.[113] A sturdy benchtop manual plastic injection molding machine for about $1,000-$1,300 is available here.

Pelletizers and Shredders

  • The Cruncher from ExtrusionBot creates small usable plastic bits.[114]
  • Filamaker offers the Mini XXL shredder with housing. This shredder is unpowered. The shredding chamber is 120x97 mm.[115]
  • The Plastic Pelletizing Machine from Gemco can produce 160-200 Kg/hour of pellets.[116]
  • A Plastic Pellet Making Machine that can produce between 75 and 100 tons of pellets a month and that costs under $2,000 is available from Henang Gelgoog Machinery.[117]

Pellet Mills can turn leaves, grain, shells, grass, corn stalks and cobs, straw, wood chips, shavings, saw dust, cardboard, and newspaper into wood pellets. Prices vary with capacity. A machine that can produce up to 700 pounds per hour of wood pellets might cost $6,400.[118] Pellets made from cardboard may have an ash content, when burned, of up to 7%, and so may not be suitable for some pellet burners.[119]

Vacuum Formers

Starting with a milk jug, face masks, simple toys, and other items can be vacuum formed. In vacuum forming, a sheet of plastic (perhaps one side of the milk jug) is stapled to a frame, and the frame placed on top of the object to be reproduced, on top of the the vacuum former. The vacuum former consists of a box topped with a section of pegboard. A vacuum is attached to the side of the box, and draws air past the plastic, through the pegboard holes, through the box, and out. A heat gun is aimed at the plastic to warm it. As it warms, it deforms to the shape of the object below the frame. Hand painting would likely add value to the creation.

Vacuum formers are easy to build, and their are many plans for their construction online.[120]


The Plastic Bank buys discarded plastic in its recycle depots from poor folks in developing countries who have collected it. The Bank hand-sorts the plastic, and converts it to pellets, which can then be sold to manufacturers or run through an extruder to make filament, and then a 3dprinter to make items that can be sold.

The Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) was established to support increased recycling of foodservice packaging made from polystyrene foam. In order to meet this objective, the FRC shares general information on foam recycling, provides technical resources and offers funding assistance* to programs ready to start or strengthen post-consumer foam recycling.[121]


  1. ""Energy and Economic Value of Non-recycled Plastics and Municipal Solid Wastes" at Journalist's Resource.org". 
  2. http://plasticbank.org/
  3. Lytle, Claire Le Guern. "Plastic Pollution". Coastal Care. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  4. Barnes, D. K. A.; Galgani, F.; Thompson, R. C.; Barlaz, M. (14 June 2009). "Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 364 (1526): 1985–1998. PMC 2873009. PMID 19528051. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0205. 
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistent_organic_pollutant
  6. http://hbarber.com/LitterCollection/LitterPicker/HowItWorks.html
  7. See the demo video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVZnBNau6qA
  8. See the video "Beach Cleaning Eggs in Sand" here: http://longislandbeachcleaning.com/equipment/walkbehindbeachsandsiftercleaner.html
  9. See http://hbarber.com/LitterCollection/Litter_Collection_Equipment.html
  10. http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/17/solar-powered-water-wheel/
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resin_identification_code
  12. http://www.grainger.com/content/qt-types-of-plastics-213
  13. http://www.northstarrecycling.com/sorting-plastic-for-industrial-recycling/
  14. The Complete Book on Biodegradable Plastics and Polymers (Recent Developments, Properties, Analysis, Materials & Processes). NIIR Board of Consultants & Engineers. ASIA PACIFIC BUSINESS PRESS Inc., Oct 1, 2006 - Plastics - 672 pages https://books.google.com/books?id=BS-hAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA42&lpg=PA42&dq=sorting+litter+plastic&source=bl&ots=bSgcWdHyhw&sig=gm5pAVBIZHmwVV_gzWaHURPD9zg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjbkJia_YjKAhUG7iYKHfRsB38Q6AEIhAEwEg#v=onepage&q=sorting%20litter%20plastic&f=false
  15. TITECH_working_principle21.jpg
  16. https://books.google.com/books?id=BS-hAgAAQBAJ&dq=sorting+litter+plastic&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  17. http://tetechs.com/whitepaper-identifying-black-plastics-with-rigel/
  18. https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://eco3e.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/32-tableau_1_EN_jpg.jpg&imgrefurl=http://eco3e.eu/materials/plastics/&h=848&w=1593&tbnid=TgopggLg_QeZbM:&docid=WwfELsb18zWr6M&ei=e0SHVtCOBcSImQHzuqvoBQ&tbm=isch&ved=0ahUKEwiQuLylmIrKAhVERCYKHXPdCl0QMwhwKEkwSQ
  19. http://www.northstarrecycling.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Northstar-Recycling-Guide-to-Sorting-Plastics.pdf
  20. http://tetechs.com/whitepaper-identifying-black-plastics-with-rigel/
  21. http://www.plastics.ca/_files/file.php?fileid=itemcfqyQDmpdf&filename=file_Sorting_Mixed_Plastics_Report_Apr06.pdf
  22. http://www.ebay.com/itm/PRM-3HP-Industrial-Plastic-Granulator-/272095203989?hash=item3f5a235295:g:Z24AAOSw-vlVnW4Q
  23. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcdQ0UEzcr0&NR=1&feature=endscreen
  24. Video manual: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsK7Zc3KV-Q&feature=youtu.be
  25. http://www.instructables.com/id/Plastic-shredder-for-making-3D-printer-filament/?comments=all#CLRH3L9IAXRIEI6
  26. http://www.energydynamicscorp.com/
  27. http://cleantechnica.com/2008/05/08/transportation-fuel-produced-from-trash-in-worlds-largest-plant-in-2009/
  28. See http://www.build-a-gasifier.com/PDF/FEMA_emergency_gasifier.pdf http://www.build-a-gasifier.com/ and http://www.build-a-gasifier.com/PDF/FEMA_emergency_gasifier.pdf
  29. https://www.wilmerhale.com/uploadedFiles/Shared_Content/Editorial/Publications/Documents/2015-08-03-protecting-the-brick-legos-global-ip-enforcement-efforts.pdf More info on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego
  30. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_Digital_Designer
  31. http://www.easyplasticmolding.com/model_150/specifications.html
  32. http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/Acrylonitrile_Butadiene_Styrene
  33. Benchtop Molds caters to several injectors such as the Techkit machines, Galomb Machine, Medium Machinery, Honajector, Morgan press, Thermoject, Iasco, Megatron, Pitsco, and many other ones that are manual, semi-automated, or fully automated using MUD plates. See http://benchtopmold.com/ Hobby Molds designs and fabricates custom aluminum molds for plastic injection molding using table-top molding machines. We make molds for use on machines like the LNS PIM, Adler, Galomb, Medium, Morgan and others. See http://hobbymolds.com/
  34. http://www.parley.tv/oceanplastic/#oceanplastic1
  35. http://www.bionicyarn.com/
  36. https://www.g-star.com/en_us/corporate/responsibility/news/raw-for-the-oceans-production-process.htm
  37. see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25384056 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26390034
  38. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26390390
  39. http://www.filabot.com/collections/filabot-core/products/filabot-wee-kit-welded?variant=337570068. See http://www.protoparadigm.com/news-updates/the-difference-between-abs-and-pla-for-3d-printing/ for a comparison of ABS and PLA.
  40. http://www.appropedia.org/Recyclebot_v2.3
  41. see http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/science-and-solutions/plastic-oil for a story about the NVG-200
  42. https://www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/downloads/Background_and_FAQ_on_the_Blest_240_-_May_2014a.pdf
  43. http://www.blest.co.jp/service_eng.html. See https://www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/downloads/Background_and_FAQ_on_the_Blest_240_-_May_2014a.pdf and https://www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/downloads/Blest_Plastic-to-Fuel_web.pdf for reports from a user.
  44. See comments at http://www.instructables.com/id/Plastic-To-Oil/
  45. Patel, Almitra H. (October 2003), Plastics Recycling and The Need For Bio-Polymers 9 (4), EnviroNews Archives  Paragraph lifted from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Plastic_recycling
  46. http://www.instructables.com/id/House-in-Mexico-built-with-plastic-and-glass-bottl/
  47. http://www.instructables.com/id/I-Love-Papercrete/
  48. http://www.instructables.com/id/I-Love-Papercrete/
  49. This list from here.
  50. http://www.plasteak.com/plasteak-is-made-of-recycled-materials
  51. http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/recycling-plastic.html
  52. See the splendid Sortable Materials Properties Table here: http://www.boedeker.com/mtable.htm
  53. see the story here: http://www.projectseafood.com/#!process/c12my
  54. http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/jun/05/haiti-drastic-plastic-problem-help-vulnerable Also see images here: https://www.google.com/search?q=trash+in+haiti&num=100&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS628US628&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjy1e7YuKTKAhWBPD4KHa6jAiEQsAQIJQ#imgrc=MwYtQKt0Wubu1M%3A
  55. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti#Economy and http://www.haitioutreach.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Haiti-Info-History.pdf
  56. https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/rtge0514-Haiti-Recycling-company-profile
  57. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/12/opinion/haitis-economic-aftershocks.html?_r=0
  58. http://ecssahaiti.com/web/
  59. https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/rtge0514-Haiti-Recycling-company-profile
  60. http://tropicalrecyclinghaiti.com/about_us/
  61. https://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Resources/News-Stories/2014/April/0417trashiscashhaiti
  62. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/recycling-hope-in-haiti/
  63. https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/rtge0514-Haiti-Recycling-company-profile
  64. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/recycling-hope-in-haiti/
  65. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/recycling-hope-in-haiti/
  66. http://reclaystewardedge.com/haiti-recycling-program-ramase-lajan/
  67. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6VfyAvAYnE
  68. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6VfyAvAYnE http://www.executiveswithoutborders.org/our-impact/haiti-program/
  69. http://harmony1.com/products/automatic-balers/t60xdrc/
  70. From their Facebook page, it appears that SRS employs 1,479 collectors. https://www.facebook.com/Sustainable-Recycling-Solution-Haiti-146621012100489/timeline.. From this photo, it appears that SRS primarily collects bottles in bags, does some quality control on the way they are sorted, and then bales them.
  71. http://www.threadinternational.com/ http://www.alleghenyfront.org/story/pittsburgh-company-recycles-bottles-and-brings-jobs-haiti
  72. http://www.moopshop.com/
  73. http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/recycling-styrofoam.html
  74. http://www.homeforfoam.com/city-governments/recycling-resources/recycling-equipment
  75. http://www.sebrightproducts.com/products/bright-technologies/densifiers
  76. http://www.sebrightproducts.com/products/bright-technologies/densifiers
  77. http://www.wastecare.com/Products-Services/Densifiers/Densifiers-Guide.htm
  78. http://www.foamequipment.com/foam-recycling/compactors
  79. http://www.avaicg.com/products/fb-series-foam-densifiers
  80. http://polymax5000.com/howitworks.html
  81. http://www.fpi.org/recyclefoam
  82. http://www.4grecycling.com/
  83. http://www.enstyro.com/
  84. Bulk bags are large industrial containers designed to transport dry products, such as sand. Many are made of thick, woven polyethylene. Source: http://www.hantecsolutions.com/products/packaging/bulk-bags/
  85. http://us.mt.com/us/en/home/products/Transport_and_Logistics_Solutions/forklift_scales.html
  86. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWTTjwJ9_jE
  87. For some advice, see these links:
  88. * http://members.upnaway.com/~obees/soldiers/links.htm#moulds
  89. http://www.easyplasticmolding.com/model_150/home.html
  90. http://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Solar-Panel-Starter-Items/dp/B00BSZUHRC/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1452114835&sr=8-11&keywords=solar+panel
  91. http://makezine.com/projects/make-41-tinkering-toys/diy-injection-molding/
  92. story: http://3dprint.com/51566/carbon3d-clip-3d-printing/ and http://gizmodo.com/new-liquid-3d-printing-system-is-25-times-faster-than-i-1691865330
  93. http://www.gizmo3dprinters.com.au/
  94. http://eweindustries.com/shop/
  95. http://felfil.com/felfil-filament-extruder-2/?lang=en
  96. http://www.filabot.com/
  97. http://www.filastruder.com/products/filastruder-kit
  98. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman_filament_extruder
  99. http://www.noztek.com/
  100. http://www.noztek.com/product/the-noztek-pro-abs-and-pla-filament-extruder-for-3d-printers/
  101. http://plasticbank.org/ and http://www.appropedia.org/Plastic_Bank_Extruder_v1.0
  102. http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/12/19/protocycler-filament-extruder-indiegogo/
  103. http://omnidynamics.co.uk/shop/strooder
  104. http://www.filabot.com/
  105. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/filafab-first-pro-filament-extruder-winder#/
  106. http://www.filastruder.com/collections/spare-parts/products/filawinder
  107. http://www.noztek.com/product/filament-winder/
  108. http://www.injectionmolder.net/epoxy%20molds-step_%20by_%20step.htm
  109. example sources: http://www.smooth-on.com/
  110. What Can You Do with an Injection Molding Machine,pg 184. Popular Mechanics. Sep 1970. 
  111. Gingery, Vince. "Plastic Injection Molding Machine". David J Gingery Publishing. Retrieved October 24, 2009. 
  112. Newman, John. "Home Plastic Injection Molding Offered on Kickstarter". rapidreadytech. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  113. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Newbury-40-Ton-1-7-Oz-H2-40RS-Injection-Molding-Machine-/221980879401?autorefresh=true
  114. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1622873957/an-all-new-3d-print-recycler-introducing-the-crunc/description
  115. http://filamaker.eu/product/mini-xxl-shredder-with-housing/
  116. http://www.pelletmillequipment.com/materials/plastic-pelletizing-machine.html
  117. http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Plastic-Pellet-Making-Machine-plastic-granules_476590929.html?spm=a2700.7724857.29.91.0MVZYY
  118. http://www.gardenheat.com/diesel_pellet_mil.html
  119. http://www.pelheat.com/cardboard_pellets.html
  120. http://www.fpi.org/recyclefoam