Plastic Waste Recycling – Three Distinct Methods

Plastic Waste Recycling – Three Distinct Methods
| 3 Min read

Recycling is a process of collecting and transforming the used or waste materials into reusable/raw materials to form a new product. This procedure indeed extends a sustainable environment and benefits the community at large. Products such as paper, plastic, metal, electronic devices, wood, clothing & textiles, bricks, and many more are on the good-to-go list of recycling. However, there are some restrictions, as the structure of each product may differ from one another, necessitating the use of different recycling procedures (plastic waste recycling, e-waste recycling, etc).

Among them, plastic is one of the toughest materials to recycle as there are about 50 groups of plastics, with hundreds of varieties. The non-biodegradable waste creates an adverse effect on the environment because mostly the plastic wastes are sent to landfills, burned, or dumped in oceans. However, the pollution insights have taken their place among the countries and the awareness of recycling has created an impact for the countries to take the initiation of recycling.

Different Methods of Plastic Waste Recycling:

There are 3 methods of recycling processes that are applied for all the materials. Let us have a look at how does plastic reacts to the different methods of recycling.

  1. Mechanical Recycling:

            Mechanical recycling is the most widely utilised method for repurposing wastes into new products. It is a method that mechanically converts industrial scrap, residential or commercial plastic wastes into raw/new materials, without affecting their chemical structure. 

In this process, first,

  • The plastic is segregated according to its resin number or by using various advanced systems ranging from manual sorting to mechanized automation processes.
  • This includes shredding, sieving, separation by rates of density i.e., air, liquid, magnetic, etc. Some of them are also separated on the basis of different colours. 
  • After sorting, the plastic recyclables are shredded, then undergo the process of eliminating impurities like paper labels. 
  • Finally, these items are melted and are often extruded into the form of pellets for manufacturing into products. 

[Mechanically recycled plastics are utilised to reform –  fresh packaging, rubbish bags, floors, hoses, and automobile parts, etc.]

Processing of plastic under Mechanical Recycling Method. Source: bluevisionbraskem
  1. Energy Recycling:

Energy recycling is the method of transforming plastic into thermal and electric energy by utilising the heat power supplied by these materials in the form of fuel through incineration. But due to higher investment requirements, most of the recycling plants are unable to carry out this non commercially viable process for recycling. Hence, the plastic waste recycling process is mostly not carried out by this method.

Energy recycling can be an outstanding process because it diversifies the energy matrix while also maximising available space in densely inhabited areas by reducing landfill capacity.

Processing of plastic under Energy Recycling Method. Source: bluevisionbraskem
  1. Chemical Recycling:

Among the above methods, Chemical recycling is the most expensive and complex recycling process. In this method, the plastic polymer is chemically reduced to its original monomer form so that it can be processed (re-polymerized) and manufactured into new plastic materials or goods.

Although, chemical plastic waste recycling allows us to go beyond traditional recycling’s limitations. It also aids manufacturers in pushing the limits of how and where recycled plastics can be used in an innovative way. It mostly recycles plastic and provides raw materials and fuel.

[Chemical recycling of nylons has long been practiced, and the industry is attempting to expand it to additional resin types.]

plastic waste recycling
Processing of plastic under Chemical Recycling Method. Source: bluevisionbraskem

As various countries have already started the plastic waste recycling procedures by using various innovative methods for well-being and for a sustainable environment.

Recykal also has set its goal, by providing a digital platform for all the recyclers, brands, aggregators to have a clearer view of their part in the recycling process. 

Recykal Marketplace – to sell & buy wastes

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