How Is Plastic Recycled?

There are many different types of polymers used to produce plastic. This makes it more difficult to process than other materials, because each type must be sorted separately. Due to the lightweight nature of most plastics, a large sum needs to be collected to make it economically viable to do so. Most collection schemes, therefore, tend to focus on key packaging types that have an end market, i.e. plastic bottles, because they are heavier and easier to sort and handle.


It is technically possible to recycle most plastic types, however, the complexities and costs of doing so have prevented this from happening in the past.

So what happens to plastic recycling after it’s collected?

Well it depends on the polymer type used to make the plastic.

Recycle More have more information on plastic types and where they are found in common packaging items.

Depending on type, plastics will either be melted by heat compression, shredded and made into microbeads, or go through a process called pyrolysis, turning petroleum-based plastics into fuels and carbons.

However, this can only be done by carrying out proper recycling techniques. This entails cleaning off food and properly sorting materials before putting them into the bin for collection.

Click here For more information on non-recyclable materials.

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