85% of all plastic manufactured in the United States ends up in landfills.
Normally, plastic takes hundreds or even thousands of years to fully decompose, but plastic waste in landfills can actually become a source of clean energy if it is treated with a biodegradable additive.
Biodegradation is a process through which microbes break down solid matter into other substances that are essential to sustaining our ecosystem, including:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- Humus, a nutrient-rich soil
Methane is also a byproduct of the biodegradation process, and while it is a potent greenhouse gas, it can also be a source of clean energy. Methane (and CO2) can be collected to power internal combustion generators to produce electricity. Harnessing methane in this way both eliminates methane as a greenhouse gas and produces usable energy without the mining and burning of fossil fuels.
Landfill biodegradable plastics can contribute to the production of methane and, thus, the production of clean energy. Plastics treated with EcoPure®, an organic additive, are biodegradable* when exposed to a microbe-rich environment, like a landfill. EcoPure®-treated plastics become a viable food source for microbes, allowing microbes to break down the polymers in a matter of years or decades (depending on environmental conditions) rather than multiple centuries. Given the tonnage of plastic that goes into landfills each day, EcoPure® treated plastic have the potential to be converted into millions of megawatts of clean energy!
*Biodegradation rates of EcoPure®-treated plastic materials measured according to the ASTM D5511 test method. Tests are generally conducted using 20% to 30% solids content; solids content in naturally wetter landfills range from 55% to 65%, while the driest landfills may reach 93%. Actual biodegradation rates will vary in biologically-active landfills according to the type of plastic used, the product configuration, and the solid content, temperature and moisture levels of the landfill.