300: An Ecosystem of Environmental Entrepreneurship, with Sebastian Sajoux, Arqlite
For extended show notes, look here: https://tonyloyd.com/sebastian-sajoux/
93% of plastic is not recycled.
Only seven to nine percent of the plastic that is generated on an annual basis is recycled. Sebastian Sajoux explains, “The plastics go to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF, pronounced “Murph”), and then go into a recycling system. Still, 50% of plastics that are manufactured are impossible to recycle with current technologies.
“The number that’s really scary is, by 2050 the amount of plastic used and discarded will double.”
“We are in this race to become more efficient in separation and recycling, but we are still manufacturing products that cannot be recycled.”
Why Some Plastic is Born Unrecyclable
“Plastics are divided into categories,” Sebastian told me. “Usually, you see the numbers one through seven in a recycling system. They can only be recycled within the same stream.
“There are also rigid plastics, such as a shampoo bottle, and flexible plastic, which is a wrapping, for example, for an Oreo Cookie or Lays Potato Chips.
“For flexible plastics, because it is so thin, it requires different layers to work together to be safer, to keep the product for more time. So, you exchange thickness for another technology. If you combine two different types of plastics, it is automatically unrecyclable.
“What we are addressing is all of the flexible packaging out there that was born unrecyclable. It seems like a wrapper from, let’s say a butter toffee, it’s harmless. But people discard them every day.
“So, laminates are our main focus.”
A Solution to Unrecyclable Plastics
Arqlite takes unrecyclable mixed plastic and produces a gravel that can be used in construction.
When compared to traditional mineral gravel, Arqlite’s smart gravel is three times lighter, ten times better insulator, doesn’t break or produce dust, and doesn’t require hydration. These are all characteristics that are desirable in the construction industry.
Lighter gravel is easier and cheaper to transport. It can be manufactured locally, reducing costs and greenhouse gas emission. And, it does not require mining to produce.
Builders who use Arqlite smart gravel can gain LEED points. The material is recycled, it is locally produced, and it improves insulation.
The solution is scalable. “I didn’t want to make countertops and sell 100 countertops per day,” Sebastian says. “I wanted to make gravel and sell 100 trucks per day.”
Learn More About Sebastian Sajoux and Arqlite:
Arqlite on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arqlite_us
Arqlite on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arqlite
Arqlite on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2aC0VRGB6dLgKxEtCkAI6A/videos