In April 2018, our Puerto Rico team traveled to Puerto Rico for an initial exploratory trip. There they met with public works officials and green organizations, toured waste facilities and investigated the plastic waste problem of the island. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, plastic waste processing has curtailed.
An important aspect to the study is to examine the waste streams of the island nation to identify the amounts and types of plastics which could be used for this Plastics 2 Fuel solution. With the gracious help of WR Recycling in Cabo Rojo, the team gained some understanding regarding the material available there for this application. The P2F solution utilizes types 2, 4, 5, 6, & 7 plastics: detergent bottles, yogurt containers, plastic bags, wrappings, etc.
This study focused on the southwest side of the island. The team toured several of the 16 municipalities in the area. They presented our Plastic-2-Fuel initiative to a public works director, recycling managers in two municipalities, a fellow non-profit, a materials recovery facility (MRF), and also toured a local landfill (view footage from this experience in the video above). During the trip, the team gained first hand experience with PR's recycling collection and processing systems in place in San German, Cabo Rojo, Lajas and Guayanilla.
The project has been met with enthusiasm, cooperation, open doors and genuine encouragement to go forward with our goal of implementing a Plastic-to-Fuel solution in a Caribbean island location.
After finding evidence of strong infrastructure supporting the waste stream (from household garbage and recycling collection, through the use of school systems as recycling drop off locations, to the sorting centers and modern MRFs), Puerto Rico appears to be a good candidate for incorporating Plastic-to-Fuel technology as a solution to plastic waste.
The second phase of the feasibility study will be to determine the amount of applicable plastic waste generated weekly to drive the decision for the size of the unit to be acquired. This study will also investigate viable location for and the permit and regulation requirements needed to procure and install a Plastic 2 Fuel unit in Puerto Rico.
In recognition of being in Puerto Rico on Earth Day as well as acquiring plastic marine debris data, the team conducted a beach cleanup.
Meet Our Puerto Rico Team!
Director of Partnership Development
Ned’s love of nature stems from his early years spent just north of Manhattan in Greenwich, Connecticut and summers spent at the beaches, traipsing through woods picking raspberries and hunting for bittersweet in the fall. He spent 15 working in Connecticut, New York and London, UK as an IT man managing the infrastructure, data and software for over 30 different offices in 28 countries. The more Ned travelled, the more he could see what populations were doing to our planet, something Ned has kept with him all these years. After getting married and returning to the US, Ned settled down to the sandy beaches of Wilmington, NC where he currently works at UNCW providing computer support to the chemistry, biology, physical plant and police departments. His passion for developing solutions and concerns about the environment, led him to Bonnie Monteleone and her Plastic Ocean Project. Since 2014, Ned has been involved in various aspects of POP including serving as former Secretary and President of the organization. When he is not running around campus, or travelling off to catch another concert, Ned is usually passionately educating others about the evils of single use plastic.
Associate of Partnership Development
Rafael, was born within the iconic National Park, Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which at that time still served as a US military base. Moving to New York City in 1964 at the time of the World’s Fair, brought him to see the future, plastic, at the DuPont exhibit. He joined the United States Marine Corps and served 8 years in North Carolina, Okinawa, Japan, and California. Returning to civilian life he devoted his efforts to teaching within the special education field. Spending 15 years in the South Bronx and 15 more in Westchester County, NY, he not only was a vital part of the pedological staff but participated in various school structuring committees and coached the boy’s varsity track and field team. His passion for the conservation of the planet and his vision for a solution to the plastic waste problem led him to volunteer his time with POP He strongly believes in the sustainability of this project through innovative approaches to recycling, reusing and repurposing plastic into another useful product such as combustible fuel, holding plastic manufactures responsible to limiting their production and educating the next generation to continue the effort of reducing the plastic pollution that plagues our planet today.