Plastic is an incredibly useful material. However, it is incredibly detrimental to the environment. It is only getting more detrimental too. We use more plastic than ever. Remember, plastic production requires vast quantities of natural resources. Plastic also does not breakdown easily. It would take hundreds, if not thousands of years, to disappear. This is not good for the environment. It is therefore important that you recycle as much plastic as possible.
Sadly, at this moment in time, not all plastic can be recycled. The technology is just not there yet, and if the technology is there, it not effective to use it on either an economical or environmental level. Thankfully, the vast majority of plastic can be recycled. You can deposit it at the collection facility closest to you. In major cities, you may even find that it will be collected from your home by your local garbage disposal team when they collect the rest of your household waste.
The process, after the plastic has been collected, it rather simple:
- The process will begin by the plastic being sorted. This process is normally manual to ensure that everything is removed that should not be there i.e. mixed plastic, which can’t be recycled at the moment. It will also remove everything that isn’t actually plastic.
- Next, the plastic that is moving along the process will be shredded up fairly small.
- The shredded plastic will then be washed numerous times. The purpose of the washing will be to remove any contaminants on the plastic i.e. ink and the like.
- Once the shredded plastic has been cleaned, it will be placed into the furnace and melted down. Plastic melts fairly quickly and thus this part of the plastic recycling process is going to be fairly quick.
- Plastic will then be moulded into a new shape straight away. This normally happens if the plastic recycling plant is recycling the plastic for their own purposes. If they are not, the plastic will be melted down and moulded into pellets. These pellets will then be melted down again in the future and used for a variety of different purposes. These pellets will normally be shipped to packaging companies and other companies which use plastic in their manufacturing process.
Remember, plastic is one of the most important things to recycle in this day and age. It is a great shame that not all plastic can be recycled at the moment. However, every little helps. By recycling plastic, you will be cutting down on non-renewable fossil fuel consumption, reducing the amount of energy needed to produce new plastic (which can pollute the environment with carbon dioxide), and reduce the amount of plastic which ends up filling landfills, which are being filled up at an incredibly quick rate.
The technology to recycle plastic has improved year on year in the United Kingdom. Plastic that we may not be able to recycle at the moment may be fine for recycling a year or so down the line.