Plastic shopping bags make a fine diesel fuel .

Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.

The conversion produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels — diesel, for example — that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels. Other products, such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils such as engine oil and hydraulic oil also can be obtained from shopping bags.

A report of the new study appears in the journal Fuel Processing Technology.

There are other advantages to the approach, which involves heating the bags in an oxygen-free chamber, a process called pyrolysis, said Brajendra Kumar Sharma, a senior research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center who led the research. The ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

“You can get only 50 to 55 percent fuel from the distillation of petroleum crude oil,” Sharma said. “But since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation.”

Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, according to the Worldwatch Institute. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that only about 13 percent are recycled. The rest of the bags end up in landfills or escape to the wild, blowing across the landscape and entering waterways.

Plastic bags make up a sizeable portion of the plastic debris in giant ocean garbage patches that are killing wildlife and littering beaches. Plastic bags “have been detected as far north and south as the poles,” the researchers wrote.

“Over a period of time, this material starts breaking into tiny pieces, and is ingested along with plankton by aquatic animals,” Sharma said. Fish, birds, ocean mammals and other creatures have been found with a lot of plastic particles in their guts.

Whole shopping bags also threaten wildlife, Sharma said.

“Turtles, for example, think that the plastic grocery bags are jellyfish and they try to eat them,” he said. Other creatures become entangled in the bags.

Previous studies have used pyrolysis to convert plastic bags into crude oil. Sharma’s team took the research further, however, by fractionating the crude oil into different petroleum products and testing the diesel fractions to see if they complied with national standards for ultra-low-sulfur diesel and biodiesel fuels.

“A mixture of two distillate fractions, providing an equivalent of U.S. diesel #2, met all of the specifications” required of other diesel fuels in use today — after addition of an antioxidant, Sharma said.

“This diesel mixture had an equivalent energy content, a higher cetane number (a measure of the combustion quality of diesel requiring compression ignition) and better lubricity than ultra-low-sulfur diesel,” he said.

The researchers were able to blend up to 30 percent of their plastic-derived diesel into regular diesel, “and found no compatibility problems with biodiesel,” Sharma said.

“It’s perfect,” he said. “We can just use it as a drop-in fuel in the ultra-low-sulfur diesel without the need for any changes.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Brajendra K. Sharma, Bryan R. Moser, Karl E. Vermillion, Kenneth M. Doll, Nandakishore Rajagopalan. Production, characterization and fuel properties of alternative diesel fuel from pyrolysis of waste plastic grocery bags. Fuel Processing Technology, 2014; 122: 79 DOI: 10.1016/j.fuproc.2014.01.019

9 Ways to Bring More Life into Your Life.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Stagnant lifestyles are the common denominator of the western world. We work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, two days off for the weekend, get 2 weeks of holidays. We watch 2 hours of television each night. We sleep less than 7 hours a night. Get up and repeat. Our daily lives are stagnant generally speaking and even though we are alive, there ain’t much life in our lives.

“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Here are 9 ways to bring more life into your everyday life.

1. Let go of the daily TV routine.

In a world of PVR capability, take advantage of the technology, take control of your TV time. If you work Monday to Friday, limit TV time to Friday and Saturday nights. Get caught up on the week’s shows if you must, and focus the time to specific nights where you won’t jeopardize your morning wake up for work the next day.

2. Work out every day.

Be it a 10 minute stretch, or a full on 2 hour, sweat dropping routine. Our bodies need to move, we are not meant to be sedentary. Experts are claiming that Sitting is the new smoking… our day jobs sitting at a desk is killing us just as fast as smoking cigarettes.

3. Don’t beat yourself up for not working out every day.

Remember the rollercoaster, well sometimes it’s time to get off. A day off from eating right, or working out embodies the idea of change. The catch to this one though, is to pick yourself up and get back to eating right and working out, the next day… the longer you delay, the less likelihood of getting back into that healthy routine.

4. Get some sleep.

As a society, we are running hard every day. We feel we need to do more, and sleep less. In reality, we should do less and sleep more. For our bodies to regenerate properly, we need 7 to 8 hours of solid sleep every night. Without the right amount of sleep, we can’t process our foods correctly, can’t heal our bodies in a timely fashion, causing added stress, compounding the problem keeping us awake.

5. Unplug.

We are a connected society now, constantly checking emails, Facebook, Twitter. Why is it so important to know what Ashton Kutcher is saying on twitter now… what does it matter what friend is eating what and posting to Facebook. I’m not saying drop them completely, but much like Television, limit your intake. Take 10minutes each morning, 10minutes at lunch and then again after work. Otherwise, close it off. If it’s a big enough deal, you’ll hear about it in the morning. If it’s truly a personal issue, have them call you. Not only will you have more personal time, you’ll likely have less anxiety caused by other’ s need to vent negative feelings.

6. Look at everything in the positive light.

Too often we fall into the trap of complaining. Things we don’t have, things we don’t get. Enough with the don’ts focus on the dos. What DO you have, what DO you get. Life is not fair, but it does all equal out in the end, so be grateful for what you have, not what you don’t have. Negative energy sucks the life out of you, positive energy enlightens, drives you forward.

7. Spend quality time with your loved ones.

Stop the rat race one night a week, and sit down for dinner together. If you are fortunate enough, go to a nice restaurant, something simple and quiet. Or if you prefer, stay home, but keep it simple. The idea is for everyone to take the time and catch up the old fashioned way (talking face to face), while not stressing over the chore associated with a meal. We need human connection (that’s why Facebook, Twitter etc. are hugely popular), however the virtual connection you get with Facebook etc. is a false perception. It’s like sugar, empty calories that has a quick jolt of satisfaction, but leaves you feeling empty after the crash.a

8.  Surround yourself with the right people.

Much like it is hard to say no to eating chocolate if you work at a chocolate factory, not picking up on negativity if you hand around negative people is almost impossibility. Surround yourself with positive people, enforcing the gratitude for life will help you when you are down, and bring you more happiness than you thought possible.

9. Travel the world.

Earth is a beautiful planet, with an infinite range of possibilities to explore. Some people never leave their own country, let alone perhaps their town or city. Expand your experiences to other cultures, other lifestyles. You will truly learn to appreciate the simpler aspects of life, and re-evaluate what you do.

Life is short, make the most of it while you are here. Being fit and healthy ensures that the time you do have is spent in enjoyment. We are meant to be happy, our soul yearns for it. Get started today on changing your life for the better, but remember, you are Human, so it’s OK to get off the ride from time to time, just remember to get back on, or risk falling into the abyss.

What is one thing you could do today to bring more life into your life? What is one thing you could to to make you feel more alive and in touch with your heart and soul?

15 Empowering Messages From Your Authentic Self.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” ~ George Moore

There is a place inside of you where there is eternal peace, a place where fear does not exist. A place where love feels at home and your inner light is always shining. This beautiful place is where you belong, it’s who you are….

By affirming and acting upon these 15 empowering messages that come  from your true and authentic self, you will remember many of the things you have forgot about yourself and you will start living life in a more beautiful, happier and meaningful way.

1. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

Life is gift — enjoy it, and please, “Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself so seriously.” – Norman Vincent Peale

2. Treasure Your Divinity

Learn to treasure yourself and your Divinity. Be willing to accept yourself completely. Be yourself, be graceful, be kind, be wild, be weird … be true to yourself.

“You surrender to a lot of things which are not worthy of you. I wish you would surrender to your radiance … your integrity … your beautiful human grace.” – Yogi Bhajan

3. Nurture Good Thoughts, Create A Good Life

You create your life with your thoughts. As you think so shall you be.

Think loving thoughts and you will experience a loving life. Use your mind and don’t let it use you. Purify your thoughts and watch your life purify with them.

4. Let Go, Be Happy

Let go of all the pointless drama, all the toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors that are present in your life. Let go of the heavy weights you have been carrying on your shoulders and decide to travel light. Bring your mind into the present moment. Create your life from a place of infinite choices and possibilities – the present moment, and no longer from a place of fear and limitations – the past. Shift your focus from the bad on to the good and watch your life transform.

5. Give Yourself, and Others, the Gift of Forgiveness

Forgive, release and let go of any negativity, hate and resentment that is currently poisoning your life. Allow peace and tranquility to govern your heart.  Forgive those who have harmed you, not because they deserve it, but because you do, and forgive yourself for holding on to poisonous thoughts and depriving yourself of all the love and happiness you truly deserve.

“True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

6. Build Bridges Instead of Walls

No matter how much you’ve been hurt in the past and no matter how much more you will be hurt in the future, don’t let fear convince you that you should close the door to your heart. You need love to feel alive. By depriving others of your love and affection, you are depriving yourself of the many beautiful things that come from love.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi

7. Appreciate Both the Good and the Bad

Learn to love and appreciate both your failures and successes; the happy experiences but also the unhappy ones. Look for the lesson in everything and by doing so no experience will ever be wasted. They all contribute to your growth and expansion.

8. In Friendship, Choose Quality Over Quantity

Build your friendships on a healthy and strong foundation. It’s always better to choose quality over quantity. It’s wiser to have a few real friends than many untrue ones.

9. Be Kind to All Living Creatures

Treat all living creatures with love, kindness and compassion. Keep in mind that this isn’t just our home, is theirs as well.

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Immanuel Kant

10. Be Good to Your Body

Your body is your temple and the way you feel internally will reflect externally. Exercise whenever possible, make sure you drink plenty of water- water is life, and eat as healthy as possible. Treat your body in the exact same way you want your body to treat you and stay away from toxic addictions.

11. Live With an Open Heart

Allow love to rule your life. Put all your fears aside and allow love to rule your life. Embrace your authenticity and dare to walk through life with your head up high, always! Don’t settle for anything less than love.  Put all your fears aside and allow love to rule your life. Embrace your authenticity and dare to walk through life with your head up high, always! Don’t settle for anything less than love. Learn to pour love into everything you do. Pour love into your relationships, your work, your life and into yourself. Allow love to rule your life.

“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

12. Give Meaning to Your Life

Do the things you love the most, follow your heart, your passions and your dreams. Ask your true and authentic self to guide you and to help you live your life in a loving and authentic way. Look for meaning, look for purpose and allow yourself to become the unique and authentic being you were born to be. Make the shift from ambition, to ambition with meaning.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl

13. Love Everything, Be Attached to Nothing

Nothing is yours to keep – not your friends and family, not your lover, not your material possessions, not your youth and vitality, not your struggles (which is great news) or successes, and not even your life. Things, people, experience, they all come and go. Everything changes, nothing remains the same. Love everything but be attached to nothing.

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” ~ Khalil Gibran

14. You Are a Soul; You Have a Body

You are a soul within a body. You are not your body and the body is not you. Your body is your vehicle in this life and it’s meant to help you achieve the things that your soul came here to achieve. But you are not the vehicle, you are the one that drives the vehicle.

“Never tell a child,” said George Macdonald, ‘you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.’ As we learn to think of things always in this order, that the body is but the temporary clothing of the soul, our views of death and the unbefittingness of customary mourning will approximate to those of Friends of earlier generations.”

15. You are ONE with Everything

At the soul level you are connected to all living things. There is no separation between you and everyone else. You are ONE with it all that is. Look within for guidance and directions. Ask your soul to lead the way and you will become ONE with all that is.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein