Plastic is a material that we use nearly every day, it’s in majority of the products we use. For instance in the cups we get at the office, or the bottles when we buy a drink and in the packaging of some of our food. It’s something we interact with on a daily basis but, what is done with plastic after we are finished with it?
Most people don’t really understand the importance of plastic recycling, since it is a material that takes thousands of years to bio-degrade, it can cause some serious effects with our environment if not dealt with properly. For example, if plastic isn’t dealt with properly then it can cause the area to become polluted, causing it to become a bio-hazard.
There are many types of plastics, here are a few of the main types that we deal with on a daily basis.
- HDPE – High-density polyethylene is made of petroleum and is a polyethylene thermoplastic. This plastic is sometimes referred to as ‘polythene’ or ‘alkathene’ when it’s used for piping. Since it has a high density ratio, the plastic is used to produce piping, plastic bottles and plastic lumber.
- PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride is made by combining ethylene and chlorine to produce ethylene dichloride, which is then transformed into vinyl chloride which is the building block of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- PET – Polyethylene terephthalate within the polyester family it’s the most commonly thermoplastic polymer resin. It’s commonly used in fibres of clothing, food and liquid containers, thermoforming in manufacturing.
The most commonly recycled plastic product is plastic bottles, however these steps can be used for any type of plastic product you may be recycling.
- First check if you’re recycling bin accepts plastic products, if it doesn’t then you should take your plastic bottles/ other plastic products to the local recycling bank.
- Clean the plastic product you plan on recycling thoroughly.
- Then throw it in the recycling bin.
London City Waste Clearance can collect and recycle all plastic waste for you, so if you have any bulky items or even a large collection of plastics just give us a call.
To reduce packaging waste you can buy bottles in bulk. If you buy or receive a carrier bag from the supermarket you can reuse it next time you shop, if not then you can recycle them.
After you throw away your unwanted plastic waste, it goes through a process when it is being recycled, here is a brief step by step process of what happens when recycled:
- The empty plastic is collected with your recycled materials, it is then taken to a material recovery facility (MRF), where the materials are separated into categories plastics being an example of one.
- The plastic materials are then flattened and then gathered together, it is then sent to the UK re-processors.
- When the bottles reach the UK re-processing company it is then cleaned again and sorted using an optical beam that re-groups the plastics in there respected categories.
- The sorted bottles are then grinded into flakes. The flakes are then washed again and sorted again. Depending on the type of plastic being processed. Chemicals could be used to relieve the plastic of contamination. It can also be melted down and sieved to make beads.
- The flakes/ beads are then ready to be used to create a brand new product by melting them down again. The product that can make may vary depending on the type of plastic being used.