It's a huge problem: Lots of plastic goes unrecycled. Even in places with recycling programs (like New York City), the only plastic items recycled are bottles, leaving everything else as waste. What to do with all that unrecyclable plastic? A Japanese inventor has put forward an answer: melt the stuff and turn it into oil.
Akinori Ito's plastic-recycling device is no industrial solution. Called the Blest Machine, it sits on a tabletop and is made to be "safe to use at home." The key to the process is an electric heater, which heats the plastic enough to melt, but never to the point where it burns, thus avoiding any CO2 fumes. Two pounds of plastic fed to the machine gets you a quart of oil.
Ito says the fuel that comes out can be used immediately to power stoves and generators, and can even be refined as gasoline. None of which are very green either, but considering you'd be buying that fuel otherwise, going this route at least saves you money and keeps the plastic out of landfills. One Blest Machine costs $9,500, though, so it's doubtful it'll ever pay for itself. For eco-warriors to whom price is no barrier, however, you factor in a ticket to Japan, because right now that's the only place you can get one.