Materials Recovery Facilities, ByFusion and Reshaping the Future of Plastic

by | Apr 29, 2020 | Blog

Plastic as a material is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, durable, versatile, and can serve a multitude of beneficial purposes. However, the adverse impact plastic waste is having on our environment is due to the mismanagement of this complex material. Plastic waste has become one of the world’s greatest environmental and economic challenges. Today, humans spend over $120B to create over 311M tons of plastic waste every year and only 8% of plastic is actually recycled¹. The other 92% is either landfilled – clogging up communities’ critical infrastructure, incinerated – contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, or its leaked into our streets and, of course, our oceans and waterways. It is time we re-evaluate the unsustainable relationship society has to plastic in order to facilitate a more financially and environmentally efficient solution. Plastic is not the problem. The lack of proper management of plastic waste is the problem. 

The global plastic recycling industry has been in the spotlight over the last few years due to increasing awareness about the abundant plastic waste problem, carbon emissions issue and the need to reduce them both. This coupled with the recent China ban, which took effect in December 2017, has accelerated the need for new and different solutions to plastic waste. ByFusion is offering such a solution through it’s patented process that converts all types of plastic waste into an advanced building material. 

Ground Zero for Plastic Recycling and Diversion– Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF’s) + ByFusion

Materials recovery facilities are cornerstones for every community when it comes to recycling or diversion of plastic waste. Despite their keystone role in every community, MRFs are often underappreciated and caught in the middle of volatile global recycling markets and regional environmental goals. ByFusion designed its product to give MRFs a critical new tool that increases their resilience to this volatility, creates a critical new revenue source and offers increased agility to meet statewide sustainability goals. Since China’s plastic ban, MRFs and related landfills have been required to find new markets for recycling plastic numbered 3 through 7 or, unfortunately, to sort these materials out of consumer recycling bins and send them to the landfill. This increases labor costs and tipping fees in a business noted for razor thin margins, decreases diversion opportunities and discards decades of consumer training to dutifully sort and recycle their plastics. ByFusion solves these problems for materials recovery facilities and the communities they serve. 

Meet the Blocker and ByBlock

Let’s take a moment to meet the two recycling superstars in the ByFusion ecosystem– the Blocker and ByBlock.

We call the Blocker the “ultimate environmental diversion solution”. To explain it simply, this machine takes plastic waste and converts it into construction-grade building blocks, ByBlocks. The Blocker is designed to be placed and operated in MRFs and plastic producing facilities as their purpose is to “maximize the quantity of recyclables processed, while producing materials that will generate the highest possible revenues in the market.”² Because copious amounts of plastic are being sent to MRFs already, they have the ability to significantly increase the plastic being processed by allocating unrecyclable plastics to the Blocker which then produces the ByBlock (without the costs of sorting and prewashing), a product able to generate increased revenue.

Blockers– Modular and Scalable

The Blocker comes in two primary sizes– Community and Industrial. The Community Blocker is geared toward small recycling operations, community projects, disaster relief/clean-up efforts and mobility, with the capacity to process up to 30 tons of plastic per month. The Industrial Blocker, however, is intended for large scale, industrial installations and can be scaled up or down to meet venue space limitations and almost any plastic volume requirement, processing 90+ tons per month. 

Blocker– How it Works

The Blocker takes any plastic waste– shreds, superheats and fuses it into construction-grade building blocks. ByFusion uses a steam-based compression process that does not melt or degrade the polymers. This process, while cost effective, also generates significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than processing plastic for the landfill or recycling, as well as the production of other construction materials such as concrete (Environmental Protection Industry’s 2019 WARM Report).

The innovative technology which makes up the Blocker, converts any type of plastic, including plastic numbered 3-7, which are among the most difficult to recycle, into a useful, marketable construction-grade building block called ByBlock.

ByBlocks in a nutshell– or plastic clam shell as it were:  

  • Dimensions: 16″ x 8″ x 8″ / 40cm x 20cm x 20cm
  • Weight: 22lbs / 10kg
  • Can be customized to specific densities
  • Doesn’t crack or crumble like concrete blocks
  • Requires no glue or adhesives
  • 41% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than concrete blocks

Let’s Build with the ByBlock

ByBlock’s are versatile, tested and ready for deployment in projects including:

  • Landscaping & Walling: Privacy, sound and retaining
  • Infrastructure & Utility: Sound walls, kiosks, storage sheds, security
  • Parks & Recreation: Pavilions, benches, planters, open space projects
  • Commercial, Residential & Consumer: Accent walls, furniture, modular structures such as sheds, detached office spaces and various other residential projects

The ByBlock can be utilized to improve infrastructure by anyone, eliminating the need for highly skilled, in-demand construction tradesmen/women, opening up a whole new labor field to support construction needs. However, as highlighted above, ByFusion’s business plan is not limited to consumer building needs. ByFusion aims to partner with materials recovery facilities, corporations, waste management companies, and governments to install Blockers on site, allowing them to effectively process excess plastic and create an additional revenue stream through the budding ByBlock market. 

Why Choose ByFusion?

Below are four reasons for MRFs to incorporate a ByFusion Blocker into their technology stack:

ByFusion Increases Revenue Opportunities and/or Lowers Costs:

ByFusion allows MRFs to create saleable construction-grade building products, ByBlock, thus creating a new revenue stream and decreasing the overall cost associated with currently sending this plastic to landfill and paying tipping fees.

Decreases Contamination and Increases Diversion:

Contamination in recycling is a major issue for all MRFs. ByFusion creates systemic incentive to sort what is currently considered a contaminant, bound for the landfill and recovers it as valuable material for construction-grade building blocks.

ByFusion’s Blockers Are Modular:

MRFs come in all shapes and sizes and thus require adaptable, modular technology to custom fit their unique waste volumes and space requirements. Similarly, Blockers are designed to support small facilities and waste streams or scaled to meet the needs of large volumes and expansive facilities.

Meeting Community’s Environmental Goals:

MRFs have the challenging position of meeting regional or statewide waste diversion requirements, yet are subject to the vagaries of national and international waste markets.  ByFusion offers MRFs something no other plastic recovery technology does– the opportunity to locally divert a community’s plastic waste and turn it into a product for building local facilities and structures– true local diversion and local recycling.

Our Dedication to Bettering the Environment and Communities Across the Globe

ByFusion is focused on creating a partner network that solves the global plastic crisis by empowering communities to block their waste in place while leveraging it to solve increasing challenges around job creation, affordable housing and crumbling infrastructure, the support of aggressive waste reduction goals, and supply the local market with an incredibly cost effective, 100% recycled advanced building material. ByFusion is recognized by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, New York Times, Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas (2019), US Green Building Council Net Zero Accelerator (2019), B Corps Best for the World (2019), 1% for the Planet’s Innovation of the Year (2018) and Waste Dive’s ‘Most Disruptive Innovation of the Year’ Award (2016). As a company, we are dedicated to the healing of Earth and truly believe our patented process is a key component to regenerating the planet and reshaping our relationship to plastic.