08 8162 5544
Call us today for the best waste and recycling rates in Adelaide
How Plastic Recycling Gives New Life to Plastic Junk
The process of plastic recycling is pretty much the same as the one used for paper, glass and metal. Plastic waste is taken to an Adelaide recycling centre where it gets reprocessed and turned into something completely new from that used plastic. However plastic recycling does not mean that because you recycle Tupperware or a plastic bottle that it will be reconstituted into the same thing once the material is processed. This is mainly for hygienic reasons. You certainly wouldn’t want to drink from a plastic soda bottle that was once a soda bottle used by another person and then dumped in the trash. The material gets melted down and turned into any new from a plastic table to a toy. The only items that are likely to be reconstituted into the same type of product they were before are plastic bags like the ones you get at the supermarket.
One of the issues that come with recycling plastic is that its composition needs to match whatever else is being melted in the batch. If you try to melt down say a plastic bag with a soda bottle, they tend to have a different type of density that makes reconstituting them into one type of material virtually impossible. The other issue is that a lot of plastics contain different dyes like those found in a Sprite or 7-Up bottle, which has that green hue to it. It would be too costly to remove the dye from the material and mixing it with another plastic that’s clear or of a different dye would prove unproductive. So basically in order for the process to work, like has to be mixed with like.
Once the plastic is inside the recycling facility, the first order of business is to separate them by PET codes. Now a PET code stands for the polyethylene terephthalate resin code. Put simply, it’s that triangle on the label that has a number on it.
Each plastic identification code refers to the different properties and the packaging application of the plastic. For example, ID code 01 reflects clarity, strength, toughness and barrier to gas. These are typically found in soft drinks, peanut butter jars and small consumer electronics. ID code 02 shows that the properties of the plastic are stiffness, strength, toughness, resistance to moisture, permeability to gas. This type of plastic is more commonly found in juice and milk gallon bottles, shampoo and conditioner bottles, and groceries bags. There are several other plastic identification codes from 03 to 07; each represents a different classification that will help the techs at the recycling centre to separate and group the various forms of plastics.
Once that’s been sorted out, the plastic products will be separated by the type of colours. Then they get shredded. Afterwards, the shredded plastic will go through a process of getting any impurities removed like extra liquid, residue or labels. Once the material is melted it will be shaped into the form of pellets. These pellets will then be melted and moulded into other plastic products.
Ultimately, the process of plastic recycling begins with you. If you recycle responsible you will do the environment good whilst ensuring the plastic is then given a chance at a whole new life as an entirely different item.