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A guide to plastic recycling
Whilst the UK government have pledged to reduce plastic waste and kerbside collections do accept plastic bottles, few places accept the other types of plastic packaging that is used for almost everything we buy. Business waste and recycling are dealt with differently to domestic services, and as such, many are opting for waste management professionals who can help to sort, remove and dispose of all business waste, including recycling plastic.
Working towards zero landfill is an important objective these days, particularly for people in business. For one thing, it is an important incentive for clients to see you working toward and it has the added bonus of benefiting our planet. Sustainability is better thought of as a journey than a destination since there are always going to be challenges faced by companies. Our guide deals with some of the questions about plastic recycling from members of the business and domestic communities.
What is plastic recycling?
The plastic recycling process involves collecting and sorting scrap or waste plastic in order to melt it down and turn it into something else. Most plastics are melted into pellets, which are then used to make denser plastics, such as chairs and tables. Plastic has historically not been biodegradable, which means that it does not decompose naturally over time. Technicians have been working on improving this and these days there are many alternatives. Unfortunately, most of the foods we buy from supermarkets come in some sort of plastic container and we have a way to go before all companies are using the biodegradable alternatives.
With so many different types of plastic existing, plastic recycling disposal is one of the most confusing to domestic consumers and corporations. The policies for kerbside plastic recycling collections vary from place to place, with a focus largely on bottles. However, with over 50 other types of plastic, this is only part of the story. Unlike glass, when plastic is recycled, it does not simply melt down to make the same substance again. When it is melted, plastics of different strength can separate, much the same way as oil and water do. This means that there are some barriers to plastic recycling, which explains why different counties and districts have different rules. The widespread use of dyes and polymers can also affect the viscosity of plastic, so it needs to be sorted accordingly.
What are the different types of plastic?
There are in excess of 50 types of plastic, which can be recycled in different ways. However, the main categorisation is seven types. These are:
PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate. This is the most commonly recycled plastic and is used for many household items such as carpet fibre, clothing, rope and plastic bottles.
HDPE – High-Density Polyethylene products include bottles for milk, motor oil, various types of detergent, including bleach. This plastic is recycled.
PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride is an extremely tough, dense plastic used for all types of pipes and tiles, most commonly plumbing pipes. These are sometimes recycled.
LDPE – Low-Density Polyethylene is a durable yet malleable plastic that has flexibility. As such, it is commonly used for shopping and sandwich bags and clingfilm. It is only sometimes recycled.
PP – Polypropylene is only occasionally recycled and is the type of plastic used to make both bottle lids and thicker plastic items.
PS – Polystyrene is difficult to recycle, but it is still commonly done. This can be used for packaging and coffee cups etc.
Code 7 is used to describe other plastics not categorised by the above. PC (Polycarbonate) and PLA (Polylactide) are included in this category. They are often used for making babies’ bottles and CDs, which are tougher and harder to recycle.
Plastic Recycling Bins
How we can help you
At Business Waste, we can help your business by arranging a regular collection of all of your commercial waste and sorting it for you. We understand that you want your time and your staff’s time to be used focusing on what your business does best, and might not have time for recycling management. As such, we will come and consult you at your premises to come up with a plan for your plastic recycling disposal, as well as collecting all your other business waste.
Our dedicated and professional team will even provide you with the necessary plastic recycling bins to keep your waste in. This means a sturdy wheelie bin with a cover to prevent any tampering. We’ll then help you to decide on a collection schedule that is tailored to suit your specific business needs. From there, we will arrive on schedule to come and remove, sort and dispose of your business waste, including plastic recycling. We are committed to reducing landfill, so we know which plastics can be recycled and where they need to be sent to reduce landfill and help your business.
Plastic Recycling Collections
How do you dispose of plastic waste?
First of all, we will sort the plastic and decide which recycling unit to take it to. In some cases, the plastic recyclables will be shredded and cleaned to remove all impurities such as labels. It is then melted down to make pellets, from which new plastics can be made.
There are other processes which are used to produce petroleum, and this occurs by deploying a depolymerization process, which can include many different strains of plastic. Almost any polymer or mix of polymers can be used to make these products.
An increasingly popular method of plastic recycling is heat compression. This basically takes all forms of plastic, from bottles and hard industrial pipes to medicine containers and clothing, and mixes the entire lot in huge rotating drums that look like tumble driers. This means anything can be recycled, but it does use a lot of energy in the process and is not ideal.
When we collect and sort your waste, we will place it in the best recycling plant in order to have the most positive impact on the environment and, as such, your business. To find out how we can help you manage your plastic recycling, do not hesitate to speak to one of our professionals today.