We live in an age where everything from our computers to our disposable water bottles are made of plastic. It is all around us. But how disposable is that water bottle of yours?
Plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose, so despite throwing away that water bottle, it will still be around longer than you will. The current solution is recycling, but even with our best recycling efforts, 91% of plastics still end up in landfills in the US. That's over 29 million tons of plastic every year! In fact, conservative estimates indicate the world disposes of over 73 million tons of plastic in landfills every year.
Landfills across the world are filling up fast and often times more than 20% of the waste in a landfill is plastic. If we continue at this pace, we will need more landfills and where are we going to put them, in your neighborhood?
Image: Alan Levine
Plastics are everywhere in landfills!
PlasTek™ safely breaks down plastic molecules
The solution is a product called PlasTek™. PlasTek™ is an environmentally safe (Our team member Brock can even drink it!...trust us, it's no fruit smoothie) solution developed by Ph.D. chemists that is made from naturally occurring compounds that start decomposing plastics in a matter of months instead of hundreds of years.
As trash is thrown into a landfill, it will be sprayed with PlasTek™. Once the trash is sprayed with PlasTek™, it can be handled as normal and buried in the landfill. PlasTek™ will break the bonds of the plastic which will allow the naturally occurring bacteria in the landfill to digest it in 12-36 months.
The first and most obvious benefit is that the plastics will break down at a faster rate and more space will be made available for a landfill. We estimate that we will save the average landfill over 80,000 cubic yards of space annually. This will allow us to increase the lifespan of current landfills, keep new landfills from being built, and keep your neighborhood safe from that horrible odor!
The second benefit is that the accelerated breakdown of plastic will cause an accelerated release of methane. Don’t think of this as a bad thing. All landfills are required to harvest this methane. Over 500 landfills in the United States use this methane from landfills to generate green energy and over 2000 landfills worldwide use this same technique. If you don’t think collecting gas from landfills is productive, landfills in 2009 alone collected over 13 billion kWhrs of electricity from methane gas!
How landfills capture methane for clean energy!
PlasTek™ is expected to increase the amount of methane landfills will capture by 124% -- that's an average of 4.12 megawatts of additional energy per landfill! That's enough energy to power 4,000 homes. According to the EPA, this additional energy reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 19,480 tons. That's the equivalent of:
PlasTek™ can really help the environment!
Many renewable energy projects are held up by the government and never reach financial stability without heavy government support. Using PlasTek™ is not just environmentally friendly but also financially responsible. After speaking with over 80 landfills, this is not something they will use out of mercy for the environment, but also for the 136% return on their initial investment. In other words, landfills don't loose money using PlasTek™, they make money! PlasTek™ is profitable for landfills and it helps the environment!
PlasTek™ is a double win -- a win for the landfill, and a win for the environment.
Inviroment has won just over $100,000 in cash prizes from business plan competitions, including the Department of Energy's CU CleanTech competition. We need to raise $200,000 total in order to complete testing, including two pilot tests at landfills.
We have two landfills that have given us written permission to perform tests at their locations (Utah and Massachusetts). This is a mandatory test that will allow us to move forward with servicing other landfills. Until this pilot test takes place we will not be able to offer this service to any landfills due to cost and government requirements. After this test has taken place, we will be able to turn every landfill into a power producing and trash digesting machine!
We've raised over $100K, but we need your help to reach $200K!
The Inviroment team at an international business competition
Can a team of Ph.D. chemists, an entrepreneur, and three students make a difference in the world? We believe we can! With proven science to support our efforts, Inviroment is ready to change the way the world handles waste. We're so close to completing our goal to help the environment, and you can help by supporting us through Indiegogo!
Help save the planet by funding our Indiegogo project. Fund $25 or more, and you'll receive a personalized birthday message like the ones seen above from co-founder Brock Bennion!
Other rewards include:
Larger Images of Rewards
Inviroment Shopping Bag with Logo -- Stylish and Environmentally Conscious!
Inviroment Stainless-steel water bottle -- Hydrate without the plastic!
Inviroment 100% Organic Cotton T-shirt, Front
Inviroment 100% Organic Cotton T-shirt, Back
A 100% bamboo plaque recognizing your efforts to support the environment!
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Risks and challenges
We have faced many challenges as we have developed this product, such as raising $100,000 in capital to fund PlasTek™. However, we have a dedicated team that is capable of surmounting the obstacles we foresee on the horizon. Below we have mentioned some of these obstacles.
Pilot Test Organization- We recognize that a large scale pilot test, such as the one we are proposing, is a time-consuming and complicated ordeal. It will take several weeks/months of planning and several months to actually complete the testing and record the data. It will then take a couple of months to analyze the data. We are fully prepared to put in the time necessary to make this test a success, and we have several industry experts and advisers that have committed to help us as well.
Environmental Concerns - PlasTek™ has no anticipated negative effects on the environment. However, one of the reasons why we are on Indiegogo is to raise the funds needed to complete our pilot tests. With these pilot tests on actual landfills, we'll be able to closely monitor any potential hazards. We've already spoken with two experts at the EPA, and they are excited about PlasTek™ and think it will greatly benefit the environment.
Mailing Rewards- Though we hope to send out millions of rewards to our faithful backers, we recognize that this will take up much of our time in the weeks following the conclusion of our Indiegogo campaign. We will be working tirelessly to get those rewards in the mail so you can have those as soon as possible. The estimated date of delivery is only a worst case scenario, and we will work to get those prizes to you even quicker.