Not all plastics are created equal. In fact, different plastic polymers have different characteristics and mixing them together would alter those characteristics. So, when recycling plastic, different polymers should be separated.
Why is it important to separate plastics before recycling them?
When plastic items are taken to a recycling facility, they are first sorted according to plastic type. This is crucial because contamination can render a batch of materials unsuitable for reprocessing.
Why does recycling need to be separated?
A big risk is that the recycling stream may become contaminated with inappropriate items. This can cause items to be rejected by the recycler and end up in the landfill, despite our best efforts. Processing costs go up as it requires more effort to separate the materials.
What should be separated for recycling?
Source separated recycling is “separating materials by type at the point of discard so they can be recycled.” For example, there may be separate streams of metal, glass, paper, and plastic; or there may be one stream for paper and one for mixed containers.
How are plastics separated for recycling?
Infrared laser beams shine on the plastic items, and a sensor detects the signatures of different grades of plastic. Strategic puffs of air separate the recyclable and nonrecyclable kinds into different bins.
How are polymers recycled?
Once the plastic is collected and sent to a recycling centre, it is typically separated into different polymer types, which are then separately shredded (and impurities like paper are removed), then melted back into polymer pellets. These pellets are then sold on to be used in new products.
Why plastic recycling is important?
Recycling takes 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials while helping reducing fossil fuel consumption; Diverting discarded plastics from the refuse stream and turning them into new goods keeps these persistent materials out of landfills and the natural environment.
What can plastics be recycled into?
What can they become? When they are recycled they can make new bottles and containers, plastic lumber, picnic tables, lawn furniture, playground equipment, recycling bins and more. We use plastic bags to carry home groceries. They keep our bread and other food fresh.