The world of recycling encompasses a lot of things. Plastic happens to be one of these things. Unlike other items, plastic recycling is not a straightforward process. There are a lot of things that one should know before embarking on plastic recycling. The most important thing you should know is the plastic numbers.
Many plastic items come with a figure that looks like a chasing arrows triangle. In the middle of that figure, there is usually a number ranging from 1 to 7. The number is crucial in identifying the type of plastic used to make the item. This is what is used to know whether or not the plastic is recyclable.
Therefore let us look at these numbers and their effects on plastic recycling.
PETE- Polyethylene Terephthalate
Polyethylene Terephthalate is one of the most common thermoplastic polymer resin. This form of plastic usually exists in two main forms. One of them is in amorphous (transparent), and the other is in semi-crystalline form. It all depends on the processing and thermal history.
When we look at its recycling aspect, PETE is regarded as the easiest kind of plastic to recycle. This could be a huge reason why it is used to manufacture numerous items. Some of these items are soda bottles and food packages. This form of plastic is usually recycled into polyester fibres and bottles.
HDPE- High-Density Polyethylene
High-density polyethylene is a type of thermoplastic polymer. It is usually retrieved from a monomer known as ethylene. It is used to make packaging items of detergents and milk containers. Recycling of High-Density Polyethylene is also very easy. That is why it is accepted by many recycling facilities.
Polyvinyl Chloride is among one of the most produced types of plastic across the globe. You will find this form of plastic in the form of pipes, furniture, and toys. In as much as it is used widely, it is very difficult to recycle. That is why many recycling facilities do not accept this form of plastic.
LDPE- Low-Density Polyethylene
This form of plastic is widely used in the manufacture of soft materials like shopping bags. Squeezable bottles and frozen food bags are also made from this kind of plastic. This kind of plastic is recyclable, but it requires a team of skilled individuals. That is why it is only accepted by soft plastic recycling programs.
This is a thermoplastic polymer produced from propylene through chain-growth polymerization. It is used to make disposable diapers and bottle tops. When talking about recycling Polypropylene is recyclable by some recycling facilities. Some of the items that can be made from recycled Polypropylene are brooms, trays, and bins.
This is a synthetic kind of polymer that is manufactured from styrene. That is why, in some cases, you will hear it being referred to as Styrofoam. This form of plastic is used to make takeaway cups and carry-out containers. Recycling of polyester is a bit tricky due to various reasons. One reason is the fact that it is very bulky yet very lightweight.
To grasp this concept, let us use a clear example. A truck filled with expanded polyester would weigh close to nothing. This then means that there is very little to reclaim. The whole point of recycling is to make something new. If there is nothing to reclaim, recycling becomes challenging. Although it is difficult to be recycled, it can be reused.
In this category, you would find plastics that contain two or more polymers. Basically, these types of plastics are a mixture of the plastic polymers listed above. This kind of plastic is used to make baby bottles, carpets, water cooler bottles, and many other items. If possible, try to avoid such plastics. This is because they are not easily recyclable. That is why they are rejected by many recyclers.
Knowledge of plastic numbers will help you navigate the world of plastic recycling. The numbers of plastic range from 1 to 7. Among these categories, there are plastics that are easy to recycle and others that are not. It all depends on the category they are in.
Passing on recycling duties to Paul’s Rubbish Removal is also an option. We are a reputable company with experience in recycling. We handle a wide range of items, including plastics. You can reach us through our number 0407 125 125.