Solving the Issue of Plastic Waste
Wednesday Sep 02,2020 | Startup News
Plastic waste is a growing problem and according to the Singapore NEA website, Singapore generated 949,300 tons of plastic in 2019 itself. With only a 4% rate of that being recycled, the remainder of that plastic is shipped out to be dumped, which is not sustainable or a long term solution.
In comes Magorium, a technology company founded by SMU student, Oh Chu Xian from School of Business. With their solution, they are trying solve two problems at once: addressing the issue of plastic waste, and improving the lifespan of roads.
What is Magorium?
Magorium aims to turn the world's waste plastic into long lasting road additives. With their patented technology that turns plastic waste into road construction materials, their product can improve lifespan of roads while recycling waste.
“Singapore doesn’t have its own recycling facility and that is definitely an issue. We used to ship plastic out, but due to recent changes, we are no longer able to do that," said Chu Xian.
She was working in a company that did research on technology that inspired her to look into the eco-sustainable uses of plastics, leading to the creation of Magorium.
How does it work?
Plastics come in many forms, and it is important to understand not all plastics are of the same quality. The polymers we use as plastics were designed to be durable and stable. They’re difficult to break down on purpose.
For example, a neighbourhood in Melbourne has used this very strategy to fill out a 300 metre stretch of road. Using 50 tonnes of recycled asphalt and combining approximately 530,000 plastic bags, 12,000 recycled printer cartridges, and 168,000 glass bottles, they produced 250 tonnes of asphalt for that road.
Magorium's aim is to recreate this in Singapore.
First, they receive plastic waste from collectors in Singapore such as industrial recycling bins. The plastic is pre-sorted, ensuring only usable plastics are used. Plastics need to have the properties they need to build for roads. Viscosity of the plastic needs to be high, if not it will melt too easily and are not suitable for roads.
Next, they use their patented technology to melt down the plastics, turning them into pellets that can be used in asphalt, the material to make roads!
Having tested the product out on private roads, they have seen success at a warehouse in Senoko where the driveway has been integrated with Magorium’s pellets.
Currently working with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority and the National Environment Agency, they are in the testing and approval stage, and they hope to emerge with an approval to start improving the roads in Singapore.
They are also currently in talks with Thailand and China and hope to eventually work in international markets.
As Chu Xian said, “This is a global problem, so hopefully Magorium can be the solution to this issue”.
Magorium is part of Business Innovation Generator (BIG), an incubation programme at Singapore Management University designed to nurture entrepreneurs through knowledge transfer and a strong support infrastructure.