Turn garbage into oil!

New Japanese technology turns plastic back into oil, plus “better-than-organic” chickens for Thanksgiving and a handy bike-repair book

Garbage in, oil out
Local notary and cruise-ship comedian Anita Gregory sent me a link to an interesting video about a Japanese man named Akinori Ito, CEO of the Blest Co. He invented a machine that converts plastic back to oil—it recycles polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene, including Styrofoam. (Note: Approximately 7 percent of the world’s annual oil production—more than the total oil consumed by the continent of Africa—is used to manufacture plastic, according to website http://ourworld.unu.edu.)

The video shows Ito shoving handfuls of plasticky trash—chip bags, sandwich containers, Styrofoam peanuts—into the tabletop trash-converter. Out the other end—via a nonflame, non-CO2-producing method of heating the plastic—comes a fuel that can be used to power generators or stoves or, if further refined, can become gasoline, diesel or kerosene. One kilogram of plastic produces almost a liter of oil.

Dozens of Ito’s machines are set up at farms, fisheries and small factories in Japan and other countries. The machine ain’t cheap ($9,500—available at www.blest.co.jp/), but wouldn’t it be nice if it could go the way of other innovative technologies, such as PCs and big-screen TVs, and become more affordable for the average Joe and Jen?

Watch the video (in Japanese, with English subtitles) at www.flixxy.com/convert-plastic-to-oil.htm.

Give thanks for chickens
Christine Hantelman, co-owner of Wookey Ranch in north Chico, recently informed me that the ranch’s last batch (until next spring, when the weather warms up) of “Better-Than-Organic” chickens will be available for purchase for Thanksgiving dinners.

Wookey Ranch will be selling its whole broilers, and a limited number of half-chickens and parts, at the Saturday downtown Chico Certified Farmers’ Market on Nov. 13 and 27, and at the Wednesday market at the North Valley Plaza Mall on Nov. 17 and 24.

“All our chickens are grown on green pasture that we plant and water for them so they have green feed during the summer,” writes Hantelman. “The pasture is not treated or sprayed; we use the manure from the chickens as fertilizer and rotate pastures and cover crops to improve the soil. The chickens forage for grass and bugs and are supplemented with certified organic feed. The certified organic feed and the fact that the chickens are moved to fresh grass daily is what makes them ‘better-than-organic.’ They don’t just have ‘access’ to pasture, they are grown on pasture from the time they are old enough to thrive outside, until they are humanely harvested for your table.”

Get your chickens early—it’s first come, first served for these popular Wookey birds!

Call 343-2479 for more info.

If you’re gonna ride it, know how to fix it
Keep a copy of Roadside Bicycle Repair: A Pocket Manifesto, by Sam Tracy, in your fanny pack (it’ll fit) and/or buy a copy for your favorite bike-riding friend.

From its initial multipoint “Flight Check” (Tires inflated properly—check! Brake levers that don’t bottom out on the handlebars—check!) to its systematically organized chapters focusing on wheels (including step-by-step instructions, with photos, on fixing a flat), seats, stems/handlebars, brakes and drive trains, this handy little book will help you know your bike better and get out of a jam quickly. Available at Lyon Books.