Mpumalanga man turns plastic into fuel

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The world has a plastic problem. Tons of plastic products end up in landfills and the ocean; causing devastating effects to the environment. 27-year-old Sibusiso Shabangu is turning plastic into fuel to mitigate the soaring fuel price.

It was a light bulb moment; turning trash into treasure. While experimenting with plastic, Shabangu was inspired to make liquid fuel from plastic.

“I cooked it, tried to open it while it was on the fire. Then the steam went up with a flame and smell of petrol. I had an idea that I might take out the petrol.”

All the plastic is cooked at 400 degrees Celsius heat in an air tight reactor to produce diesel, petrol and gas. Shabangu uses the remains to make polish and candles.

“With about 10kg of plastic, I can make maybe 5 litres of diesel, 2.5 litres of petrol and gas.”

Those who have used the fuel are pleased with the results.

The Nkomazi Local Municipality, in Mpumalanga, has pledged its support. The municipality’s Cyril Riphinga says that they will look into helping Shabangu with issues such as trademarking.

“Our local economic development department in the municipality is looking into that matter. They are engaging municipal lawyers to make sure that they assist with the trademark and all related issues.”

Shabangu says that he is cleaning the environment.

“I am cleaning the environment and also making sure we can create job opportunities among ourselves.”

While many remain skeptical about Shabangu’s fuel, he hopes to fuel a change in perception.