Plastic recycling refers to the process of recovering waste or scrap plastic and reprocessing the materials into functional and useful products. This activity is known as the plastic recycling process. This approach helps to conserve resources and diverts plastics from landfills or unintended destinations such as oceans.
Plastics are durable, lightweight and inexpensive materials. They can readily be molded into various products which find uses in a plethora of applications.
Every year, more than million tons of plastics are manufactured across the globe. Around billion pounds of new plastic material is thermoformed, foamed, laminated and extruded into millions of packages and products.
Consequently, the reuse, recovery and the recycling of plastics are extremely important. There are six common types of plastics.
Following are some typical products you will find for each of plastic:. PS Polystyrene — Example: foam hot drink cups, plastic cutlery, containers, and yogurt. PP Polypropylene — Example: lunch boxes, take-out food containers, ice cream containers.
PVC Plasticised Polyvinyl chloride or polyvinyl chloride —Example: cordial, juice or squeeze bottles. PS, PP, and LDPE typically are not recycled because these plastic materials get stuck in the sorting equipment in recycling facilities causing it to break or stop. Lids and bottle tops cannot be recycled as well. Some plastic types are not recycled because they are not economically feasible to do so.
The simplest of plastic recycling processes involves collecting, sorting, shredding, washing, melting, and pelletizing. The actual particular processes vary based on plastic resin or type of plastic product. Step One: Sorting plastics automatically or with a manual sort to make sure all the contaminants are removed from the plastic waste stream.
Step Two: Melting down plastics directly into a new shape or shredding into flakes then melting down before being finally processed into granulates. Ongoing innovations in recycling technologies have made the plastic recycling process easier and more cost-effective. Such technologies include reliable detectors and sophisticated decision and recognition software that collectively enhance the productivity and accuracy of automatic sorting of plastics. Another notable innovation in plastic recycling has been in finding higher value applications for recycled polymers in closed-loop recycling processes.
Recently, some EU countries including Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, and Austria have begun collecting rigid packaging such as pots, tubs, and trays as well as a limited amount of post-consumer flexible packaging.
Due to recent improvements in washing and sorting technologies, the recycling of non-bottle plastic packaging has become feasible. Plastic recycling faces many challenges, ranging from mixed plastics to hard-to-remove residues. The cost-effective and efficient recycling of the mixed plastic stream is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the recycling industry. Experts believe that designing plastic packaging and other plastic products with recycling in mind can play a significant role in facing this challenge.
The recovery and recycling of post-consumer flexible packaging is a recycling problem. Most material recovery facilities and local authorities do not actively collect it due to a lack of equipment that can efficiently and easily separate them.
Oceanic plastic pollution has become a recent flashpoint for public concern. Ocean plastic is expected to triple in the next decade, and public concern has prompted leading organizations around the world to take action towards better plastic resource management and pollution prevention. The recycling of plastic bottles has been made mandatory in several U.
Please follow the respective links to find the detailed of plastic recycling laws in each state. Recycling is critical to effective end-of-life plastic management. Increasing recycling rates have resulted from greater public awareness and the increased effectiveness of recycling operations.
Operational efficiency will be supported by ongoing investment in research and development.Polystyrene and other non-recyclable plastics are a serious and readily preventable source of marine debris pollution.
They are also very brittle, so when littered they quickly break into smaller and smaller pieces making cleanup impossible. Once broken down in fresh water and marine environments, many of these products can kill fish and other wildlife because they resemble food and cause choking or starvation if ingested.
Many of these products are not recycled anywhere in California, although the plastic industry has attempted to implement recycling programs that are simply way too expensive to be implemented in any meaningful way. Most curbside recycling programs in California do not accept any food containers made of polystyrene and other non-recyclable plastics because they contaminate recycling and are often accidentally littered in transportation. Polystyrene and other non-recyclable plastic food packaging is extremely costly to local governments, some of whom are required by law to achieve "zero" trash litter in impaired waterways.
Litter clean-ups cost billions, and yet are still ineffective. In order to put an end to this type of plastic pollution, polystyrene and other non-recyclable plastic litter must be stopped at its source. Alternative food packaging material that is compostable or recyclable is cost-competitive, and in some cases cheaper than polystyrene containers.
Studies have shown that in jurisdictions where a ban on polystyrene food takeout containers is in place, the presence of these packaging alternatives in the waste stream does not increase as polystyrene is eliminated from the stream. If you are interested in leading a polystyrene ban campaign in your area check out the resources below and contact us!
Non-recyclable packaging make up a large portion of marine and community pollution, forcing local governments to pay high clean-up costs such as those featured here in Ballona Creek. Our overly packaged grab-and-go food culture might be convenient for consumers, but is extremely inconvenient for the environment and poses a significant hurdle to local communities' waste diversion goals.
Litter characterization studies across the country have recognized fast food restaurants as the primary identifiable source of urban litter, and the most abundant type of non-cigarette litter as fast food packaging, which includes foamed polystyrene.
Very little paper or cardboard food packaging, and almost no fast food plastic is currently being diverted from landfills. Usually unnecessary, used without thought, and thrown away by the million each day, plastic beverage straws are another example of an overused and highly polluting aspect of food packaging.
Too small to be captured in recycling processes, straws must be landfilled. Many escape collection and enter our natural environment where they contribute to urban blight, ocean plastic pollution, and cause harm to wildlife such as this sea turtle who had to have a plastic straw forcibly removed from its nose. Like many areas of waste generation, a few simple, economical changes in the way the fast food industry produces and handles its waste could change what currently is a major source of unrecyclable, permanent litter to a model for other businesses.
We need to structure our restaurants to offer reusable dishware, reusable or paper straws, and recyclable or compostable take-out food packaging. Better yet, we should all bring our own straws and take-out containers. Learn more about a statewide measure to target fast food packaging. The Problem with Polystyrene and Other Non-Recyclable Plastics Polystyrene and other non-recyclable plastics are a serious and readily preventable source of marine debris pollution.
List of Local Polystyrene Ordinances. FoamFree Action Guide. More about Polystyrene and Other Non-recyclable Plastics:.Landfills are now overflowing with plastic waste since China refused to continue recycling it for us last year. How can humans save ourselves from drowning in a sea of plastic? Scottish engineer Toby McCartney has one idea… Use plastic instead of petroleum for building roads:.
Locals would fix potholes by dumping plastic waste into them, and then melt it with fire until they were filled in. Normally roads are made of 90 percent rocks, limestone and sand, and 10 percent petroleum to bind the mixture. The plastic waste is made into pellets that replace almost all of the petroleum used in conventional road building.
The project spared landfills and oceans of half a million plastic bottles and almost a million plastic bags. Mixed feelings. It is great that the need for new fossil material goes down…. But as Autio said, as the plastic gets worn away by traffic, snowploughs, etc. This is the opposite of a solution. We all agree that it would be better to leave the oil in the ground.
Our job now is to make sure those plastics are handled in a way that minimizes their impact on the environment. So, yes, recycling. But road pavement is a consumable product — it wears away, and the fragments wash into the storm drains which lead to the ocean. Pelletizing the plastic is a necessary prior step in most industrial pyrolysis systems. It would be no longer recognizable as plastic, but more like a raw crude oil after this process. This crude can be further processed into diesel, or used as a substitute for asphalt tar.
Dear Sara I am a 62yrars young male with a lot of experience in mechanical maintenance. Because my love for farming I also did an artificial insemination course and held certificate for it. I would like to have a contract in New Zealand or Australia. Because of circumstances out of out control I could not get a jop in S. A as I am a white person. I will be an asset to any farming activity given the change. Even service and maintain tractors planters basically any mechanical breakdown.
Also milking of cows and there general well being.Some materials are not readily recyclable and are appropriate for disposal today. But with research and advancements in technology they could become resources tomorrow. Administrative offices: King Street Center S. Jackson St. Suite Seattle, WA Send us an email. Many King County facilities are closed to the public, and many services are being offered remotely.
Learn more about changes and cancellations. Non-recyclable materials. Non-recyclable materialstons of non-recyclable materials were disposed of at the landfill in Garbage today.
Non—recyclable paper — wrapping paper that is laminated or contains foreign materials such as foil-coatings or glitter, photographic film, microwave containers, hardcover books, frozen food boxes, thermal fax paper, carbon paper, blueprints, aluminum foil boxes and binders. Treated or contaminated wood - wood treated with preservatives or attached to other materials like sheetrock or window glass.
Eighty percent of materials thrown away are resources — not waste. Related information. Contact Us. What happens to my recyclables?
Materials collected for recycling in King County become new products, many of them manufactured locally. This minute video shows how the recycling loop works: from collection to remanufacture to new product. Recycle More. It's Easy To Do. Although most King County residents say they participate in their curbside recycling program, more than half of what ends up in the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is readily recyclable.
Compost More. Waste Less. Food scraps and food soiled paper break down into compost, a soil amendment that enriches soil and improves plant health.Even the best of us finds plastic recycling a minefield. Local Authorities have tried to make it easier by using terms such as: plastic bottles, yoghurt pots and margarine tubs.
How do you know if they collect and recycle the plastic? PET can be recycled into polyester fabric and filling for for fleeces, carpets and cushion fillings. HDPE can be recycled. LDPE can be recycled. This is a hard flexible plastic. Other plastics are not recyclable in normal collections. Contact your local authority, or let me know if you are still having issues identifying what plastic can be recycled.
I would love to know how you get on identifying your recyclable plastics. I think this is already recycled pet but can it be re-recycled? It is unacceptable to expect the public or even local authorities to identify all this vaguely labelled material. Even some marked items have such small recycling triangles that its impossible to read them without a magnifying glass. Why is this allowed? They need to reduce the amount of packaging or label it more clearly. I agree that the onerous should be put on the designer of the product and packaging to ensure waste is minimal and can be disposed of responsibly through existing recycling schemes or composting.
It is unfair that the public and local authorities should bear the brunt of poor design.
How to recycle ‘non-recyclable’ plastic
My local authority recycles plastic bottles, plastic trays, plastic pots picture of yoghurt potplastic tubs picture of margarine tub. I am glad you have found the information useful Unfortunately plastic remote controls cannot be recycled in kerbside household recycling, however you can take it to a household waste recycling facility aka the dump and recycle it with ]the electronics.
I would rather not put them in the standard bin, please help! Hallo, Thank you for this helpful article. Will aluminium and plastic be separated by recycling? Hi, HDPE as a plastic can be recycled. I am not sure what item you have in mind where there is aluminium and HDPE together. Would you be able to tell me what the item is?Recycling is a complicated system dictated by market demand, price determinations, local regulations, the success of which is contingent upon everyone, from the product-designer, to the trash-thrower, to the waste collector, to the recycling factory worker.
We consumers play a much more critical role than we might imagine-- depending on how we use our products and in what shape we throw them away, determines their value and quality post-use For many, environmentalism begins with the recycling symbol and ends at the recycling bin.
Similarly, our faith in the magic of the recycling bin makes purchasing and using plastic products a little more guilt-free. But recycling is a lot more complicated, and the process of recycling plastics is significantly less transparent than the much-Googled recipe for baking cookies.
We consumers play a much more critical role than we might imagine— depending on how we use our products and in what shape we throw them away, determines their value and quality post-use. Think about it. Recycled goods have to compete with new products in the market; who wants to buy something of lower quality? My hope is to bring more transparency to a system inseparable from our very existence, but whose visibility often starts and stops at the trash can.
Your local government also plays an essential role. Government regulations create market opportunities for companies to recycle legally-mandated products. But every municipality is different. Before you throw something away, check what your city actually recycles. Public investment in recycling systems, moreover, is integral to their long-term sustainability and success. Subsidies, investments and public support go a long way. For example:.Plastics-to-Fuel: Creating Energy from Non-Recycled Plastics
While its use is also associated with public hygiene and preventing bacteria contamination many Taiwanese, for example, use plastic straws to drink everything from beer to milk out of fear of a contaminated supply chainconsumers should be wary of chemicals leaching into food or drink products.
Only plastics labeled PLA are made from the sugars in corn or other plant-starches like cassava. Moreover, there are 2 types of plastics: thermoset vs. Thermoplastics are plastics that can be re-melted and re-molded into new products, and therefore, recycled. It was the plastics industry that offered recycling as a solution. Feel good once you finish your Starbucks and place that innocuous paper cup in the recycling bin? While the outside of the cup is made of paper, inside is a thin layer of plastic.
The PP Polypropylene film protects the liquid from seeping into the paper and thereby burning you and keeps your warm drink from cooling too quickly.
Because there are two different materials, the cups cannot be recycled unless the materials are separated, which is impossible to do by hand and requires a special machine. Coffee cups are similar to the packaging enclosing snacks like health bars. Both are multi-layered, with each layer serving a particular purpose, e.
This kind of design, however, makes recycling the product super difficult, especially since the layers are often very thin and stacked tightly on top of one another. Got a little pizza sauce and cheesy goodness left on that pizza box? In order for plastics to be transformed into recycled goods, they must be of decent quality.
So what to do? Wash your plastics after every use, so they have the chance to be recycled into new material. Remember, recycled materials i. In Taiwan, there are several groups of people who sort trash, remove food remnants from bento boxes, and then send the containers to the recycling factories since the outside material is generally paper.Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products.
7 Items You Should Never Recycle
Since the majority of plastic is non- biodegradablerecycling is a part of global efforts to reduce plastic in the waste stream, especially the approximately 8 million metric tonnes of waste plastic that enters the Earth's ocean every year. Compared with lucrative recycling of metaland similar to the low value of glass recyclingplastic polymers recycling is often more challenging because of low density and low value.
There are also numerous technical hurdles to overcome when recycling plastic. Materials recovery facilities are responsible for sorting and processing plastics. As ofdue to limitations in their economic viability, these facilities have struggled to make a meaningful contribution to the plastic supply chain.
When different types of plastics are melted together, they tend to phase-separatelike oil and water, and set in these layers. The phase boundaries cause structural weakness in the resulting material, meaning that polymer blends are useful in only limited applications.
The two most widely manufactured plastics, polypropylene and polyethylenebehave this way, which limits their utility for recycling. Each time plastic is recycled, additional virgin materials must be added to help improve the integrity of the material.
So, even recycled plastic has new plastic material added in.
The same piece of plastic can only be recycled about 2—3 times before its quality decreases to the point where it can no longer be used. Recently, the use of block copolymers as "molecular stitches"  or "macromolecular welding flux" has been proposed  to overcome the difficulties associated with phase separation during recycling.
The use of biodegradable plastics or plastics which can be organically recycled or can be composted in industrial composting is increasing for certain short-lived packaging applications. The percentage of plastic that can be fully recycled, rather than downcycled or go to waste, can be increased when manufacturers of packaged goods minimize mixing of packaging materials and eliminate contaminants.
Broadly, there are two major ways to recycle plastic:  1 mechanical recycling "chop and wash" where the plastic is washed, ground into powders and melted, and 2 chemical recycling, where the plastic is broken down into basic components.
Before recycling, most plastics are sorted according to their resin type. In the past, plastic reclaimers used the resin identification code RICa method of categorization of polymer types, which was developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry in Most plastic reclaimers do not rely on the RIC now; they use various sorting systems to identify the resin, ranging from manual sorting and picking of plastic materials to mechanized automation processes that involve shredding, sieving, separation by rates of density i.
After sorting, for mechanical recycling the plastic recyclables are then shredded. These shredded fragments then undergo processes to eliminate impurities like paper labels. This material is melted and often extruded into the form of pellets which are then used to manufacture other products.
The highest quality purification may be referred to as "regeneration".