Plastic is one of the most important materials in modern times. We use a lot of it. In fact, almost every product you use will have plastic in it, somewhere. The problem is; plastic, or at least the materials needed to make it, are in a limited supply. In addition to this, making plastic has a rather detrimental impact on the environment. This is why it is important that you recycle your plastic as much as you can. On this page, we are going to take a little look at the whole plastic recycling process.
Most plastics can be recycled, however, there are a few that can’t be at the moment (although people are working on processes to try and make it so!). It is, therefore, important that you check your plastic to ensure that it can be recycled before you place it in the recycling bin.
The process of plastic recycling is actually fairly simple, in comparison to the recycling of other products at least.
Plastic Recycling Process:
1. The process will begin with the collection. If you live in the United Kingdom, it is likely that you will have a recycling bin and will have the plastic collected directly from your home. Other countries around the world often do the same. However, if that is not the case where you live, it is likely that there is a recycling point nearby that you can use.
2. Once the plastic arrives at its destination, it will be sorted. This is a manual process. Whilst machines have been designed to sort plastic, there is nothing better than good old human power to ensure that only plastic is dealt with. Their job will be to remove all of the contaminants.
3. The next step will involve the shredding of the plastic. Once it has been sorted, it will be thrown into a large machine which will very quickly tear it up.
4. The shredded plastic will then be cleaned to ensure that it is only plastic in there. Water and soap is used during this process. This will, basically, remove any residue left on the plastic (i.e. if there was liquid left in the bottle that has been recycled)
5. In most cases, the plastic will then be melted down and then moulded into something new. This will generally be done on site. For example, the plastic may become a new drinks bottle, or something else altogether. In some cases, the plastic will not be melted down on site. It will, instead, be shredded up even further. These shreds will then be melted and formed into small plastic pellets which can be used elsewhere.
That is all there is to the plastic recycling process! Remember, recycling plastic will help to ‘save’ the environment. As mentioned previously, not all plastics can be recycled at the moment (PET and HDPE plastic tends to be the only plastic dealt with). However, huge strides are being made in recycling technology, and most companies, nowadays, ensure that the vast majority of the plastic that they produce is recyclable.
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