One of the most inexpensive, lightweight and durable materials on our planet, plastics are used in a plethora of applications. They play an incredible role in making our day to day lives convenient. Over 100 million tons of plastic are manufactured across the globe, every year. They are foamed, laminated, thermoformed and extruded into countless packages and products. However, along with the incredible benefits plastic offers, there arises the importance of responsibly recovering and recycling them. Let us proceed by understanding plastic recycling.
What is Plastic Recycling?
It is the process of recovery of plastic waste and reprocessing them to create products that are functional and useful. The goal of plastic recycling is to eliminate plastic pollution by taking out plastics from the ocean and landfills as well as conserve resources in the process. What’s mind-blowing is that recycling plastic requires 88% less energy than manufacturing plastics. Furthermore, recycling a single plastic bottle can provide a 100W bulb, enough power to last for an hour.
The Need for Recycling Plastic
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 420 million tons of plastics are manufactured across the globe. Consequently, the reuse, recovery and the recycling of plastics are extremely important.
Types of Plastic that are Recyclable
Polystyrene – These plastics can include containers, plastic cutlery, and foam hot drink cups.
Polypropylene – They are usually food containers, lunch boxes, take-out food containers, ice cream containers.
Low-density polyethylene – They can include garbage bins and bags.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – Their applications can be found in pipes, cables, blood bags, and tubing.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) – Almost every shampoo container and milk bottle are made of HDPE.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – Applications of PET can be commonly found in water bottles and soft-drink bottles.
The Plastic Recycling Process
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.
Most plastic recycling facilities use the following two-step process:
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.
Challenges for the Plastic Recycling Industry
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.
For effective plastic management, recycling is crucial. Increasing plastic recycling rates have not only boosted the effectiveness of recycling operations but have also managed to create public awareness. What’s more, recycling post-consumer plastic products and packaging are bound to boost recycling and help immensely in reducing plastic pollution.
If you are in the plastic recycling business and need to purchase a plastic recycling machine, you can contact Sevenstar Machinery.