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Present Technology for Plastic Removal in Soil

For removing plastic in soil there are three categories.  In situ, which means you can deal with the problem where it is. Ex situ means you need to take it somewhere else to remove the plastic. Last are bioreactors which are big containers that hold the process of decontamination.


Examples of in situ Treatment:

Bioventing - the method of pumping air into the contaminated soil to help the bacteria that is already there.

Bioaugmentation - when extra bacteria helps break down contaminants that the original bacteria can’t.  This is good for soil that doesn’t have a lot of microbes that break down contaminants or pollutants. Bioaugmentation can be both in situ or ex situ.

Examples of ex situ Treatment:

Flotation extraction - a method used to remove microplastics from the soil. Flotation extraction is done by adding a fluid to the soil to help separate the many different particles. The density of the particles is what helps to extract the plastic, because some plastic floats.

Froth flotation - everything in the soil is separated by both the density as well as air bubbles. 


Bioreactors are containers that use a chemical process. They are monitored closely to make sure conditions are right for processing. Bioreactors can be slurry or aqueous. They can break down pollutants faster than other technologies but is very expensive. These technologies do not locate plastic waste and are only able to be used at certain locations.

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