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Plastic Recycling Process Explained !

What is Plastic Recycling & How it Works?

The term "Plastic recycling" is the process of recovering and reprocessing plastic scrap or waste into useful and functional products. The main objective of  recycling plastic is to reduce plastic pollution and also to reduce the pressure of creating brand new plastic products.

Importance of Plastic Recycling

Plastic is inexpensive, durable, and lightweight. It can be easily molded into various other functional plastic products. More than 100 million tons of plastics are manufactured every year globally.

Therefore, the reuse, recovery, and recycling of plastic is extremely important. These processes help conserve resources and reduce the amount of plastic winding up in landfills and oceans.

Types of Plastic

The following are the 6 common types of plastics

  1. Polypropylene(PP)-take-out food containers, lunch box,food packing pouches etc.
  2. Polystyrene(PS)- plastic cutlery or foam hot drink cups etc.
  3. Plasticized Polyvinyl chloride or polyvinyl chloride(PVC)- juice or squeeze bottles, cling films etc
  4. Low-density polyethylene(LDPE)-Milk Pouch, Bakery bags, Food packaging films etc.
  5. Polyethylene terephthalate(PET)- soft drink bottles, juice bottles etc.
  6. High-density polyethylene(HDPE)- milk bottles or shampoo containers, buckets , garbage bags, trash cans etc.

 

Stages in Plastic Recycling

Before any plastic waste is recycled, it needs to go through six different stages so that it can be further used for making various types of products. Here are the six steps of plastic recycling:

 

Graphic Representation of Plastic Recycling Process.

 

  1. Collection

    Collecting the plastic to be recycled depends on how businesses, restaurants, and the public dispose of their plastic waste. If plastic wastelands up in normal trash bins, it cannot be recycled. Therefore, it is important to separate common waste and plastic waste.

  2. Sorting

    The collected plastic waste is then taken to a recycling facility for sorting. The machines sort the plastic into different areas depending upon its properties, and what final product is being produced.

    Plastics are sorted are based on the type, color, or how it was made. Sorting is important because each type of plastic has to be processed differently, and most recycling facilities are only capable of recycling one type of plastic.

  3. Washing

    The sorted plastic is then washed to remove impurities, such as labels and adhesives. This enhances the quality of the finished product. If the non-plastic waste is not removed, it can result in a final product that has poor structural integrity.

  4. Shredding or Resizing

    The plastic waste is loaded into different conveyor belts that run the waste through the different shredders also called as Scrap Grinders. These shredders tear up the plastic into small pellets, thus increasing its surface area. Smaller pellets of plastic make it easier to process, reshape, and transport them if needed. Metal detectors or magnets are used to remove any leftover metal in the mixture.

  5. Identification and Classification of Plastic

    In this step, the small plastic particles are tested to determine their quality and class. The first test is to check the density. The particles are put in a large tank of water. Denser particles sink and less dense ones float. The next test is air classification, which determines how thin or thick the particle is. The particles are dropped into a small wind tunnel. The bigger ones remain low, and the smaller ones fly higher up.

    Additionally, the sample particles from each batch are collected and analyzed to test their melting point and color.

  6. Compounding or Extruding

    Carried out by a Reprocessing Machine/Plant. In this step, the shredded plastic is melted and extruded into pellets, which are used for future plastic product production.

 

Machines involved in Plastic Recycling Process.

There are a few machines involved in the the recycling process depending upon the kind of plastic waste ( Solid or Film) that is to be reprocessed. However following are the common machines used in any recycling process

1) SCRAP GRINDER / SHREDDER

2) AGGLOMERATOR

3) WASHING LINES

4) DRYER

5) REPROCESSING MACHINE / EXTRUSION MACHINE.

The above machines are the basis of any kind of plastic recycling process. Automation and technical advancements can be included in the process depending upon the clients production capacity and budget.

 

How we can Help ?

We at machineXchange are experts in setting up the complex plastic recycling projects around the world. We offer complete assistance from conception to commission to our esteemed clients, all around the world.

So if you are on a mission to create a greener planet, we are just a phone call away. Feel free to connect with us and we shall be happy to assist you in your mission.

 

 

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