Paper waste accounts for around 40% of municipal solid waste (MSW), making it the most commonly discarded item. Although paper waste is biodegradable, recycling improves the urban solid waste management scheme. Paper recycling is a straightforward procedure for recovering waste paper from municipal solid waste and turning it into fresh paper items.
Pre-Consumer Waste & Post Consumer Waste
A material that is not generated in a paper mill is known as pre-consumer waste. It is a form of waste that has been discarded before it is suitable for commercial use. Old corrugated containers (OCC), old books, old newspapers (ONP), and other post-consumer waste materials are examples of post-consumer waste.
Newspapers, shredded sheets, phonebooks, cardboard, magazines, computer paper, envelopes, junk mail, and construction paper are all recyclable paper materials.
Millions of new paper items are made from recycled cardboard and other paper products, such as egg cartons, tissue, toilet paper, newspaper, paper bags, notebooks, stamps, business cards, and calendars.
Paper recycling has its own set of limits. Paper can contain a wide range of inorganic and organic constituents, including up to 10,000 separate chemicals, which could contaminate newly produced paper products. As an example, Bisphenol (a chemical typically used in thermal paper) has been identified as a contaminant in many recycled paper materials, for example. While several steps (e.g., improved decontamination, optimized paper collection for recycling) can minimize the chemical load of paper recycling, even entirely ceasing the use of a chemical (phase-out) can still result in its distribution in the paper cycle for decades.
There are 5 basic paper grade categories:
- Old Corrugated Containers(boxing and packaging)
- Mix Paper(phone books, magazines)
- Old Newspapers
- De-inked Paper(envelopes, letterheads)
- Pulp substitutes(discarded scraps from mills)
- Steps To Recycle Paper
- Paper from the bin is collected and placed in a big recycling container of paper from other recycling bins.
- The paper is taken to a recycling facility and classified into different types and grades.
- To strip inks, plastic tape, staples, and glue, the separated paper is washed in soapy water. The paper is placed in a large container and combined with water to form a slurry.
- Different paper items, such as cardboard, newsprints, and office paper, can be made by adding different materials to the slurry.
- Large rollers are used to scatter the slurry into large, thin sheets.
- After drying, the paper is folded up and ready to be sliced and taken to the stores.
The method of recovering waste or scrap plastic and reprocessing the materials into usable and valuable items is known as plastic recycling. The plastic recycling process is the term for this activity. Plastic recycling aims to minimize high levels of plastic waste while reducing the need for virgin materials to make new plastic items. This method conserves money and keeps plastic out of landfills and unintended places like the ocean.
The Need For Recycling Plastic
Plastics are a long-lasting, lightweight, and low-cost material. They can be easily moulded into a variety of items that can be used in a variety of applications. Plastics are produced by over 420 million tones per year all over the world. 1 As a result, the reuse, recovery, and recycling of plastics are important.
Recyclable Plastics :
6 common types of plastics:
Here are some typical products you will find for each plastic:
- PS (Polystyrene)
- Foam hot drink cups
- Plastic cutlery
- PP (Polypropylene)
- Take-out food containers
- Ice cream containers
- LDPE (Low-density polyethene)
- Garbage bins
- PVC (Plasticised Polyvinyl chloride or polyvinyl chloride)
- Squeeze bottles
- HDPE (High-density polyethene)
- Shampoo containers
- Milk bottles
- PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)
- Fruit juice
- Soft drink bottles
Only PET, HDPE, and PVC plastic materials are currently recyclable by curbside recycling services. PS, PP, and LDPE are normally not recycled because processing these plastics are more complex and costly. 2 Lids and bottle tops are also not recyclable. When it comes to plastic recycling, the dilemma of “to recycle or not to recycle” is a significant one. Any forms of plastic aren’t recycled because it’s not cost-effective to do so.
Plastic Recycling Process
The specific methods differ depending on the plastic resin or the form of the plastic component.
The following two-step procedure is used by the majority of plastic recycling facilities:
Step 1: Sorting plastics, either automatically or manually, to ensure that all pollutants are separated from the waste stream.
Step 2: Melting down plastics directly into a new form or shredding plastics into flakes and melting them down before being refined into granulates.
End-of-life plastic management is impossible without recycling. Increased public awareness and the efficiency of recycling activities have resulted in higher recycling rates. Continuous investment in research and development would help to improve operational performance.
More post-consumer plastic materials and containers will be recycled, which would increase recycling and remove more end-of-life plastic waste from landfills. Industry and policymakers will also aid in the promotion of recycling by encouraging or incentivizing the use of recycled resin rather than virgin plastics.
Plastic components are processed into valuable products to make recyclable and recyclable waste plastics. As a the process of converting discarded or has somewhat moved result, the wheel of production
waste plastics into human-friendly products.
But due to the inefficiency of the production components and the lack of modern technology, the recovery of waste plastics or scrap is somewhat hampered.
Recycling plastic materials is currently a challenge due to their low density.
The plastic material gives us comfort in using our daily work, which is very useful. As waste plastic and recycling work increases, so will the use of plastic for us. It is interesting to see that different types of plastic zucchini are in a particular shape. In that case, they tend to phase-separate, and it can be oil and water, also set in these layers. Additional virgin materials are added when the plastic is resuscitated to improve its integrity. Only a small portion of plastic is recycled about 2-3 times. Moreover, new plastic materials are added to recycled plastic and which plastics have a resin code that is collected for recycling.
Nowadays, plastic waste has become a big challenge that we realize. In addition, SC Johnson, one of the researchers and Buck’s Official Disinfectant and Commercial Cleaning Partner, play a part in solutions to this global problem. Their partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks helps to create recycling infrastructure.
To making plastic reuse, it is converted into different materials after manufacturing. Among these, the blue drum is one of the outcomes people need to solve several tasks. We usually see blue drums in many places like on the side of the road, in refuse yards, nearby garages, and so on. It is used as a rain barrel to hold rainwater. It has many more uses, including floating dock, poly drums that are the internationally approved container, food storage, and different container types. Some dealers all over the world make these food-grade barrels available to customers in different regions.
As the awareness of plastics and recycling has increased, so has the demand for plastic and recycling materials. Gravity uses a vast network to change the color of plastics and colors to avoid pollution in the process of recycling plastics.
➢ Reduces waste of plastic
➢ Enhances plastic’s recovery
➢ Production stays active by increasing plastic recycling
➢ It makes the technical method useful
➢ Contributes to economic technology
➢ Increases pollution in nature
To sum up, we should increase awareness in plastic reuse that will bring plastic recycling.
Let’s start with what we know: We have a plastic problem of global proportions.
In 2020, it was determined that only about 9 percent of all plastic ever made has been Tekopapergroup—a number that’s horrified scientists, and anyone else who has been watching the drama of plastic waste play out on our environment.
It’s the kind of staggering statistic that encourages one to prioritize plastic recycling in order to boost the percentage for the future of the planet.
But recycling plastic is not as cut-and-dried a solution as it may seem. There are many reasons plastic doesn’t get recycled, from market-driven ones (one study2 found that it’s often not profitable enough to make new products from used plastic) to consumer-driven rationales (for example, not knowing which recycling bin is the right one for a used container).
Plastic Priorities: Which is Which?
Regardless of the reason, education is one of the keys to making any desired change. Understanding and learning to identify different types and classifications of plastics used in everyday items, along with which are appropriate for recycling, is a starting point.
We’ve written in depth about the state of plastic recycling, here and abroad. Perhaps you’ve personalized the problem and wondered which types of plastics you can recycle at home and at your place of business. Today, we’re here with our definitive guide to plastics recycling.
All plastics have one of seven codes stamped somewhere: three consecutive arrows in a triangular-shaped symbol, with a number at the center (used to identify the type of plastic used) and two to five letters beneath (the classification).
First, let’s look at the types of plastics that can be recycled:
#1: PET (Polyethylene Terphthalate)
- Types of products: Mostly water bottles and soda bottles
- How much is currently recycled in the U.S.: 25%
- Recycled into: Bottles, fiber for clothing, and carpets
#2: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
- Types of products: Milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, some plastic bags and toys
- How much is currently recycled in the U.S.: 30-35%
- Recycled into: Park benches, picnic tables, wastebaskets, and other durable products
These plastic classifications can be recycled, but only in some locations:
#3: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)
- Types of products: Grocery and bread bags, squeeze bottles, garment bags, shrink wrap
- Why it’s not commonly recycled: Many municipalities or recycling programs aren’t equipped to handle LDPE.
- Recycled into: Floor tiles, plastic lumber, garbage can liners
#4: PP (Polypropylene)
- Types of products: Plastic bags in cereal boxes, yogurt containers, packing tape, straws, plastic bottle tops
- Why it’s not commonly recycled: While it’s becoming more common to recycle PP, it’s still not widely accepted by many recycling programs.
- Recycled into: Brooms, bins, trays
#5: PS (Polystyrene)
- Types of products: Clamshell food containers, styrofoam cups, egg cartons, foam peanuts, plastic utensils
- Why it’s not commonly recycled: There’s not much market for it, so most winds up in landfills.
These plastic classifications are not recyclable:
#6: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
- Types of products: Cooking oil bottles, plastic food wrap, toys, blister packaging, as well as window frames, garden hoses and other outdoor items
- Why it can’t be recycled: PVC leaches numerous toxins throughout its life cycle.
#7: Other (BPA, Polycarbonate and LEXAN)
- Types of products: Food containers, baby bottles, plastic cups, car parts
- Why it can’t be recycled: BPA has the potential to leach into food and drink. If coded PLA, it’s a polycarbonate-replacement that’s compostable and should be tossed into the compost pile rather than recycled.
At Recycle 1, we want to be part of the solution—not just in our homes and individual lives, but by helping businesses convert to zero waste where possible. Our plastic extrusion machine is just one way we’re doing that. It allows us to process many types of scrap plastic into a usable, raw material rather than sending it overseas. If you need help creating a plastic or recycling strategy for your business, contact us to learn more.
USA announced in July that it will not buy certain types of paper and plastic scrap after this year because the material coming into their country is just too contaminated. This news has unnerved many in the recycling industry as well as environmentalists who want to stop plastic pollution. Last year, USA imported half of the world’s plastic scrap, including $5.6 billion worth of scrap commodities from the United States. Losing our biggest customer is bringing changes and uncertainty.
PET and HDPE plastic bottles (#1 and #2) are easily recycled and retain more value after use than other plastics. Much PET and HDPE stays in this country. Manufacturers here buy used PET bottles and turn them into new bottles, carpet and clothing. Recycled HDPE that stays in the U.S. turns into new containers, plastic decking and outdoor furniture.
The other plastics, #3 through #7 (yogurt tubs, plastic jars and everything else that is recyclable) have little value. We were able to send this low-value plastic to USA through cheap “backhaul” shipping. Cargo ships leave USA full. Ships returning to USA are often empty and will only get emptier with the ban. Now material recovery facilities (MRF’s) are desperate to find new buyers for their used plastic.
The ban has already flooded the market with #3 through #7 scrap. With little demand, some MRF’s have resorted to stockpiling plastic scrap. Stockpiling only helps until warehouses fill up. If buyers can’t be found, the scrap ends up in landfills or incinerators. Some municipalities are deciding to stop collecting low-value plastics at the curb.
But amid piles of plastic, there is hope. Low prices may encourage manufacturers to build facilities here that can use #3 through #7 recycled feedstock. Manufacturers no longer have to compete with prices that USA was willing to pay. Low prices also make recycled plastic more attractive than virgin plastic. Scrap prices have had to compete with cheap plastic resin that is a byproduct of the U.S. shale oil boom. Now some buyers have turned in favor of recycled plastic thanks to the ban. A number of companies, including Target, Proctor and Gamble and Coca Cola, are requiring their suppliers to use more recycled content in products like industrial crates and garbage cans.
There is also hope that USA will use the plastic ban to clean up its environment. A study in 2015 determined that USA leaks more plastic into the ocean than any other country. Once plastic enters the ocean it becomes a global problem. Plugging these leaks will benefit everyone.
One thing is certain: The quality of our plastic scrap must improve. High quality means better sorting and no garbage. We toss a lot of stuff into our recycling bins that can’t be recycled. Plastic bags, garden hoses and plastic forks do not belong in recycling. These have to be removed, often manually at high cost, or they risk contaminating bales of scrap. Contaminated bales are not attractive to buyers. Mary McClellan, Executive Director of Carolina Recycling Association, says: “Contamination in recycling is a long standing issue. USA provided a Band-Aid to an underlying issue, which is that the public does not completely understand what can be recycled.” She recommends checking Earth911 and Recycle Often. Recycle Right to find out what’s recyclable and where.
Want to do more to help prevent plastic pollution? Grab a bag from the BlueTube at your beach. Pick up plastic. Maybe the plastic travelled from USA, South America or was dropped by a visitor to the beach. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s removed and thrown away. Stock BlueTubes with clean, used plastic bags so others can help defeat plastic pollution too.