Recycling has been a mainstream habit for hundreds of years. The idea of taking something used and re-purposing it or giving it new life in our eco-systems is now commonplace.
From the old ‘rag and bone’ men to trendy second-hand clothing stores and futuristic bridges made from old plastic – recycling is as important for society as ever.
But how does recycling actually work?
Let’s look the plastic recycling process step by step:
Look out for your local recycling solution. Either a local facility or your own home bins. Your plastics will be collected by a recycling lorry to go to a facility.
Your plastic is sorted via a single stream system, which gathers all recyclable items together and is sorted to separate the different materials, such as glass, paper, metals, and plastic materials. This is generally automated, but may have some manual help along the way for quality control.
Since there are so many types of plastics used in Wales, all plastic materials going through sorting must be sorted by type, like PET. Not all plastic can be recycled so some of this might be transferred to another business or to landfill.
Plastic recyclables that have been sorted then go to an area of the recycling facility where it will be ground up into small flakes. These are then washed to get rid of any remaining gunk, packaging or labels.
Once the plastic is clean, it’s then melted into pellets that can be on-sold to create new products! Examples of things that can be made from these plastic pellets are carpets, floor tiles, motor oil, other bottles, pipes, buckets and other household goods.