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Plastic

Why recycle?

Recycling is one way we can all help to ensure an environmentally sustainable future for ourselves and generations to come.

Fact:

Recycled plastic can be spun to make clothes!

Collection

Collection

Plastic for recycling can be collected from people’s homes, from recycling sites, and from businesses.

Sorting

Sorting

Before being processed, plastics are sorted into their different polymer types at a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). The polymer type determines the properties and characteristics of the material, like its melt temperature and suitability for recycling.

Plastic symbol 1The symbols can be found on plastic objects (such as cups and bottles) and are as follows:

  1. PET or PETE – Polyethylene Terephthalate
  2. HDPE – High-Density Polyethylene
  3. PVC or V – Polyvinyl Chloride
  4. LDPE – Low-Density Polyethylene
  5. PP – Polypropylene
  6. PS – Polystyrene
  7. Other – Plastics, including acrylic, polycarbonate, nylon and fiberglass.

 

Baling

Baling

Once sorted, the plastics are compressed by a machine into a bale shape before being transported to a plastic reprocessing plant.

Shredding and Cleaning

Shredding and Cleaning

Once at the reprocessing plant, the plastic is shredded into small pieces which are then washed. After washing, the plastic pieces are passed under a metal detector to remove any metal, and a de-dusting unit which removes any lighter particles.

Melting and Extrusion

Melting and Extrusion

The clean plastic pieces are dried and melted so they can be made into new shapes. The melted plastic is then filtered to remove any remaining contaminants, and extruded (passed through a wire screen) to form fine strands like spaghetti. Some recycled plastic is extruded into very fine strands that can be spun into fibre to make fleeces, sleeping bags or ski jackets.

Pelletizing

Pelletizing

If not used for spinning into fibre, the plastic strands are cut into pellets, cooled in water, then dried and stored ready to be processed and moulded into new plastic items.

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