Planet Ark News - Australian technology to help create world’s first plastic neutral nation
Planet Ark News

Australian technology to help create world’s first plastic neutral nation

Date: 09-Sep-19
Author: Liam Taylor

Timor-Leste's beautiful coastlines are often tainted by plastic waste generated locally and by neighbouring nations. Image: Tanushree Rao/Unsplash © Tanushree Rao/Unsplash

Timor-Leste's beautiful coastlines are often tainted by plastic waste generated locally and by neighbouring nations. Image: Tanushree Rao/Unsplash

Technology donated by an Australian technology company could make history by helping to create the world’s first “plastic neutral” country, and it’s probably not one you would guess.

The young Southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste will receive the world’s first ever commercial Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) recycling plant, with construction work due to start next year. The $60 million plant from Australian company Licella will help process around 70 tonnes of plastic waste within Timor-Leste each day. With this being enough to offset all plastic consumed in the island nation, it would make Timor-Leste the first plastic neutral country in the world.

The plant uses a chemical process involving superheated water to convert plastic waste back to its original oil state. The oil produced can be sold as fuel or used to make a range of petrochemical products from bitumen to kerosene, earning income from otherwise wasted materials.

Timor-Leste makes an excellent location to trial the technology, with marine plastic pollution becoming a huge issue there in recent years. Not only does the island nation struggle to manage all of its own plastic waste, it also frequently has waste from neighbouring nations wash up on its shores. The nation has also committed to limits on plastic imports and running education campaigns to ensure citizens know the dangers of plastic pollution.

In a statement the inventor of the technology Professor Thomas Maschmeyer said what makes Cat-HTR unique is its ability to quickly convert waste to valuable material. 

“Cat-HTR is much better equipped to handle plastic waste than the current systems in place as it converts all types of plastic waste into high-value products in only 20 minutes.”

 

Positive Action

  • Make sure you are disposing of your plastic waste responsibly. Look out for the Australasian Recycling Label on packaging for simple instructions on what to do with each component of your packaging waste.
  • To find out if a particular waste item is recyclable in your area, visit RecyclingNearYou.

 

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Liam                                              Taylor

Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.
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