Understanding Plastic Recycling

plastic recyclingPlastic is one of the most essential and popular materials utilized across the world today. Even so, plastics create a big problem, which is why recycling them is necessary. Rather than disposing of them, polluting water bodies and the land, recycling and reusing plastics can prolong their lifespan.

Plastic recycling is the procedure of retrieving scrap or waste plastic and converting it into a valuable product. Since plastic is non-biodegradable, it should be recycled in a bid to minimize solid waste from the environment.

Step by Step Plastic Recycling Process

1. Collection

There are various types of plastic such as jars, containers, bottles, career bags, industrial plastics and packaging plastic. There are numerous plastic collection points around, with many entrepreneurs having invested in the plastic business to earn money.

Lots of scrap plastic is taken and transported to collecting centers where they are packed and dispatched to plastic recycling plants. However, many countries are yet to adopt plastic recycling facilities.

In fact, only a limited number of developed countries are capable of recycling plastic. As a result, many countries across the world are grappling with plastic waste.

2. Sorting

The plastic recycling process begins with separating various plastic items by their color and resin content. The purpose of this process is to eradicate all contaminates. Specially designed machines assist with the plastic sorting depending on their resin content. After this, the scrap plastic is sorted by the recycling mill.

3. Shredding

Once the sorting process is complete, the shredding process begins. This involves cutting down the plastics into tiny pieces or chunks. Here, the lighter and heavier plastic flakes are separated out through the use of a specially designed machine. The separation procedure is crucial as it guarantees that different plastics are not mixed up in the finalized product. It is important to note that different items are manufactured using different plastic.

4. Cleaning

The next step involves washing the shredded plastic using strong detergents in order to remove any contamination. The clean shredded pieces are then taken through special equipment tasked with separating the plastic resin types further. Once the process is complete, the plastic flakes are then exposed to moderate heat in order to dry them.

5. Melting

The dry shredded plastic is then melted and either processed to form granules or molded to form a new shape. The melting process is carried out using regulated temperatures. Specialized equipment that melts down plastic without damaging it is available.

6. Forming of pellets

The plastic is then compressed to form small pellets also referred to as nurdles. These are now ready for redesigning to form new plastic products or reused. It is worth mentioning that recycled plastic is never utilized in the making of similar plastic items of its former form.

While in pellet form, plastics are taken to plastic manufacturing companies where they are redesigned and utilized in the making of other essential plastic products.

Popularly Recycled Plastics

There are various types of recycled plastics as points out. They include:

· Polyethylene Terephthalate

Polyethylene Terephthalate is strong, comes with good clarity, is tough and has a gas and moisture barrier. It is often utilized in the production of soft drinks, water, jars, peanut butter, and salad dressing bottles.

· Polyvinyl Chloride

Also known as PVC, this plastic is versatile, strong, tough, and can bend easily. It is often used in cling film, PVC piping and juice bottle production.

· High-Density Polyethylene

High-Density Polyethylene comes with exclusive moisture resistance, stiffness, versatility, strength, minimized gas permeability and toughness. It is often utilized in the production of juice, water and milk bottles. Still, it can be used to produce trash and retail bags for both businesses and individual households.

· Low-Density Polyethylene

High-Density Polyethylene is a popular recycled plastic which is flexible, strong, moisture resistant, and tough. It is utilized in making flexible container lids, food bags, and freezable bottles.


Taking the initiative to save the environment is critical. Plastic recycling remains among the most supported solid waste regulation programs across the world. Before plastic made an entrance in the market, products were packaged in paper, metal, and glass. In order to minimize landfills, keep the environment clean and offer a sustainable plastic supply to the manufacturers, recycling plastics is essential.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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