Onsite Plastic Recycling for Rural Places

Authors: Sarah Duquette; Ashley Kishibay; Alexandra Miller; Benjamin Schade

Advisors: John Sullivan; Stephen Kmiotek; Jerome Schaufeld

Category: Undergraduate

Estimates show that the United States recycles less than 10% of plastic waste. In an effort to improve this situation, the group developed and tested a prototype to recycle expanded polystyrene – a form of plastic that has exorbitant shipping costs due to its high volume to weight ratio. Our prototype design reduces shipping costs by two orders of magnitude enabling small municipalities to recycle with minimal investment. Cost estimates for a local compaction facility and transport to a state-wide recycling facility are less than the current land-fill expenses for small municipalities.

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