Why is plastic recycling important
Plastic recycling is not only good for people but also for the environment.
We all know that plastic recycling is a global problem. We as a consumer play a critical role in this, and recycling plastic is much more complicated than it looks. A large amount of plastic waste is produced every day, and most of it is not biodegradable. Therefore, many types of plastic in nature only decompose after 20 to 1000 years.
Approx. 380 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide every year.
Correspondingly, plastic is an extremely versatile material. You can reduce plastic waste and create new plastic by re-using the material. With that being said, you would help the environment a lot and reduce the emission of gases and the consumption of energy as well. Read below for more benefits of plastic recycling.
Benefits of recycling plastic
- Less landfills and cleaner oceans.
- Reduce energy usage and protects natural resources.
- Reduce water- and air pollution, as greenhouse gas emissions as well.
- Eases the demand for fossil fuel consumption.
- Minimize the health risk.
- Plastic is cheap and light.
- Promotion of sustainable living.
One recycled tin of plastic saves 5,774 kWh of energy and 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space can be saved by recycling 1 ton of plastic!
Process of plastic recycling
Fortunately, a lot of plastic can be reused into new products. So, how is plastic recycled? The process can be broken down into six steps.
The first step involves collecting plastic waste from communities like homes, offices, and public places. It is important to separate the common waste and plastic waste, otherwise it can’t be recycled.
Plastic waste will be separated according to types, based on the properties of the material such as size, color, use and thickness at the recycling facility.
The next step is to wash the materials to remove impurities that are not made from plastic.
Shredding and resizing
The plastic is then fed into shredders, which shred or granulate the plastic waste into smaller particles. This process gives the recycling facility another chance to remove non-plastic waste if any impurities can be found.
Identification and separation
In this step, the identification and separation of plastics are tested for their class and quality. It is based on density, which is done by floating the particles in a large container of water. This is followed by their air classification, which determines how thick or thin a particle is. Then the particles are placed into a small wind tunnel. While thicker particles stay at the bottom, the thinner pieces are floating up the tunnel.
The final step, called compounding or extrusion, is where the particles are transformed into a usable product. In this process, the particles are melted and crushed together into plastic pellets.
Throughout this process, it is worth noting that sometimes the plastic may be sent to different plants because it is not always possible to compound all plastic types.
How to recycle plastic – methods
You can press the types of plastic into bales by using the vertical baling machine . Take into account that there are different methods because not all types of plastics can be recycled in the same way. However, these are the common methods of recycling plastic:
|This method is suitable for recycling thermoplastic materials and is widely used for PE and PP. Mechanical recycling also known as traditional recycling, is the process we have been mentioned above such as collecting, sorting, washing, shredding, melting and compounding.
|This process requires a lot of energy and can be an option when a product cannot be mechanically recycled due to different properties. In this case, chemical recycling uses heat to break down plastics into raw materials for example new plastic.
There are three different recycling routes:
By Recycling.com/ 28 September 2022