Preserving the Environment

These Researchers Want to Put Plastic Bags in Your Gas Tank

February 19, 2014
These Researchers Want to Put Plastic Bags in Your Gas Tank
A gasoline pump rests in the tank of a car on June 12, 2012 in San Anselmo, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Scientists at the University of Illinois have discovered an innovative way to re-use plastic bags.

You see them all over your house, in landfills and in the ocean. But have you ever thought of putting a plastic bag in your gas tank?

As UPI reports, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have turned our man-made waste into something useful: fuel. And it’s not just diesel, these shopping bags were also converted into other products such as natural gas, solvents, gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils, the researchers said.

MORE: These Women Are Doing Something Amazing With Simple Plastic Bags

What’s great about this conversion process is that it produces more energy than it consumes. “You can get only 50 to 55 percent fuel from the distillation of petroleum crude oil,” said lead researcher Brajendra Kumar Sharma. “But since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation.” Recycling plastic bags for fuel sounds like a win-win for your budget and for the environment.