Prior to plastic recycling the plastic products
have to be sorted in to there various types, this is due to part of the recycling plastics process involving melting the plastic and not all plastics melt at the same temperature, differences mixing here can lead to a brittle recycled plastic product, think of how oil and water don't mix well.
Once the waste plastic has been identified and separated the recycling process can begin, recycling plastic is much more involved than say for glass or metals, usually starting with shredding and washing to remove paper labels, adhesives and other impurities, this is followed by melting the clean plastic and extruding in to the form of pellets which then go on to manufacture the next lot of plastic products.
Recycled scrap plastic is more often than not recycled in to something completely different to what it started out as, plastic bottles could easily become your garden furniture, a point worth noting is that it is not always possible to recycle it over and over again and here in the UK we still don't have recycling facilities for all types of plastics, typically the likes of yoghurt pots and butter containers either go to landfill sites or are shipped to overseas plants for recycling.
Due to the continual growth in dependencies of plastic manufactured products, something like 20 times more than 50 years ago our need to recycle rather than continuing to create from new plastic grows ever more important, often it is all too easy for us to forget the knock on effects such as conserving non-renewable fossil fuels and minimising the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill sites.
All plastic products have a Plastic Identification Codes - or PIC for short imprinted on to them somewhere, this is a plastic recycling symbols, made up of a circulating arrow in a triangle shape with a number between 1 & 7 in the centre. The PIC was implemented by the Society of the Plastic industry in 1988.
So next time you put your waste plastic in the bin, see if you can spot the plastic identification code, currently there is no legal requirement for plastic manufacturers to label their products but the majority do so, possibly ahead of future legislation that may come in to force.
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