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Plastic recycling is a process of reusing it as an industrial raw material. Thanks to recycling, we can give plastic a new life, in a wide variety of uses, and this is very important. Why is plastic recycling so important? What types of recycling exist and why should you recycle? We will answer all questions in the article in front of you.
Natural materials tend to break down by themselves over a period of time and contribute to the environment, like fruits and vegetables for example. Even plastic, which is not a natural material, is a decomposable material, but it is a very long process of hundreds and thousands of years and its decomposition usually will not contribute to the environment. If it was not designed to break down safely, like biological plastic (“bioplastic”), we will get contamination of the soil during its decomposition process and from there the path to contamination of the groundwater is short. The answer to this is partly recycling, and indeed plastic recycling in Israel is a topic that receives a lot of attention. Through recycling we can reduce the volumes of waste, a large part of which is plastic, and even reduce the resources needed to produce other materials.
Plastic comes in a wide variety of types that are suitable for the production of different types of products. For example, for the production of bottles, irrigation pipes or the production of plastic sheets. To illustrate, here are some common types of plastic:
· HDPE (high density polyethylene), PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – are very suitable for recycling.
· LDPE (low density polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) – difficult to recycle.
· PS (polystyrene) – sometimes suitable for recycling.
Recycling refers to breaking down the material in order to produce new products from it. As part of the plastic recycling process, it is about sorting the plastic, washing it, shredding it and melting it. Most of the time, the concept of recycling does not refer to the reuse of old plastic products as they are or parts of them. If we take an example from the DIY world, it is not, for example, cutting up old plastic bottles to create improvised containers for various purposes, but rather melting the bottles to create another plastic product (a so-called thermoplastic material that can be recycled using low heat). This avoids the need to reach a heat level that releases toxic fumes from the plastic into the air. The different types of plastic recycling can be divided according to these general recycling approaches:
· Closed-loop recycling – recycling all the material in a way that allows it to be reused in the same way as the original. This is an ideal situation where theoretically there is no waste at all in the process.
· Downcycling or Cascading – a type of cycle in which products with weaker properties are created from the original material compared to the original.
· Chemical cycle – break down the plastic into its original components on a chemical level. This process is considered unprofitable.
· Use as a raw material for energy production – is normally carried out by burning the plastic and therefore causes the emission of various pollutants into the air.
These are the two main reasons to recycle plastic:
Economic viability is a complex issue that is also affected by the laws and regulations in each country. There is the aspect of viability for the recycling companies who, for example, face a great challenge in the aspect of sorting plastic into its various types. Sometimes there are several types of plastic in one product. For businesses, there are waste disposal challenges in general that include compliance with various regulations. As a solution to this, you can contact service providers in this field. These services may include both the removal of plastic waste from the business and a solution for non-recyclable plastic waste.
Recycling contributes a lot to the environment. But it must be taken into account that it requires collecting the plastic, transporting it to the recycling plants and doing the recycling itself, all of which may involve damage to the environment.
It is important and very worthwhile to recycle plastic, and to be aware of the different types of plastic. It is recommended to be aware of the possibility of systematic plastic recycling with the help of experts in the field, especially businesses whose activities generate quite a bit of this type of waste.