Researchers from Cranfield university have found a way to convert mountains of plastic landfill in Milton Keynes into fuel that could power cars.
Scientist Dr Stuart Wagland is leading a Government-backed project to recover dirty landfill plastic and turn it into the new fuel.
His team’s progress will be the subject of a BBC Inside Out documentary next Monday evening.
Stuart believes the oil they can already produce through the plastic can eventually be “upgraded to produce chemicals and liquid fuels and could potentially power your car in the future.”
He and the Cranfield team have so far identified 850 landfill sites in England that are suitable to be mined.
But some environmentalists argue that mining landfill sites would increase dependence on plastic waste, and burning any oil is bad for climate change..
Julian Kirby, the plastics pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth, is strongly opposed.
He tells Inside Out: “Getting plastic out, turning it back into oil and then burning it, essentially that’s what’s happening... That’s going to be very bad for climate change.”
Mr Kirby argues that the only way to help is to ultimately decrease the use of plastic in day to day living.
The UK is home to 20,000 landfill sites. Between them they contain more than 400 million tonnes of plastic. It is predicted people could be using fuel from landfill plastic within 10 years
Some 850 suitable sites have already been identified as suitable to be mined, but there may be up to 4,000 more worth digging up . Up to one fifth of the contents of each site will be plastic.
The plastic landfill Mining report will be available across all regions on BBC One INSIDE OUT on Monday 17 September at 7:30pm.