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Plastic Recycling

Recycled plastic refers to the plastic raw materials obtained from processing waste plastics through physical or chemical methods such as pretreatment, melting granulation, and modification. It is the reuse of waste plastics. Recycled plastics have good sales, good benefits, and a wide range of raw material sources, which are worth promoting.

The Global Plastic Outlook report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that the amount of plastic used globally reached a staggering 460 million tons in 2019, almost doubling from 2000.

During this period, the amount of plastic waste generated more than doubled, reaching 353 million tons.

Plastic pollution control has become a global topic of common concern.

Plastic waste disposal methods:

1. The most widely used treatment method – landfill method

Burying plastic waste underground is the most traditional and widely used method of disposal. The report released by the OECD shows that nearly 50% of plastic waste worldwide is sent to landfills every year.

This simple and crude physical processing method poses significant and long-lasting harm to the environment. Firstly, due to its unique molecular structure, it takes hundreds or even thousands of years for plastic to completely decompose in nature, and the land after burying plastic will not be able to be used for other purposes. Secondly, additives in plastics can cause serious pollution to land and groundwater, posing a threat to human health.

The plastic waste entering nature will cause continuous pollution to land, rivers, lakes, and oceans for centuries. Most plastic waste will never disappear, but will only become smaller and smaller.

2. The most controversial solution – incineration

Burning is also currently the mainstream method for plastic waste disposal. According to data, approximately 19% of plastic waste worldwide is incinerated every year.

Due to the fact that plastics are extracted from petroleum and natural gas, mainly hydrocarbons, when burned, a large amount of thermal energy is generated, which can be used for power generation or to provide energy for energy consuming enterprises.

For example, one of the largest and most polluting enterprises in South Korea, cement manufacturer Shuanglong C&E, has started using plastic waste as fuel. According to reports, Shuanglong Company replaces coal with 3000 tons of synthetic resin waste every day to supply energy to the factory.

However, due to the addition of various chemical additives in the production process of plastic products, burning plastics will produce toxic and harmful gases. If the efficiency of the incinerator is not high and the waste gas treatment is not in place, it will cause toxic gases to be discharged into the atmosphere, posing a threat to the air environment and the health of surrounding people. Therefore, the use of incineration to treat plastic waste has always been controversial.

3. The most mature processing method – regeneration granulation

Regenerative granulation is a physical recycling of plastic waste, which involves processing waste plastic products into recycled plastic particles through processes such as sorting, cleaning, crushing, and modification.

Recycled plastic particles that meet the standards can be used alone or together with native plastic particles to make new plastic products, thereby extending the plastic utilization cycle, improving the plastic waste utilization rate, and reducing the use of raw materials.

This is also currently the most mainstream plastic waste disposal method in the world. Nowadays, many countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan have opened up the food grade application of recycled plastics, and giants such as Pepsi and Coca Cola have also launched plastic packaging made of 100% recycled materials.

The utilization of waste plastic materials in China accounts for nearly half of the global total, and the recycling rate is much higher than the global average. A large number of excellent enterprises have also emerged.

Suzhou Polytec Machine Co., Ltd. is a professional machine manufacturer specializing in plastic recycling industry, whose customers are spread all over the world and have mature and complete equipment manufacturing processes

What can plastic waste do:

1. Recycled PP (polypropylene)

PP comes from a variety of daily necessities, such as plastic boxes, buckets, plastic chairs, woven bags, packaging straps, etc. Its transformation process is:

Firstly, separate the colors of the various materials for greater convenience and higher prices. Then crush and rinse with water, dry with a spin dryer, air dry and bag, mix with a mixer and add some color and additives. Then use a plastic granulator for granulation, and the granulation temperature should not be too high as it may become brittle. Finally, the water-cooled pellets are cut to a standard of 3 x 4mm, otherwise even the best material will not look good.

2. Regenerated PET (polyethylene terephthalate)

PET is widely used in the fields of food, beverages, and cosmetics, and its transformation process involves:

First, categorize various PET bottles and remove the trademark. Then crush and rinse with water to remove dirt. Then put the fragments into the steam treatment device, add caustic soda, and remove grease and other stubborn impurities. Wash with clean water, shake dry, bag, and dry. Finally, spray and shape, use hot water steam to move and stretch, then shape again, and the end.

3. Recycled LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)

LDPE generally refers to plastic packaging film, such as woven bag inner lining film, food packaging film, daily necessities packaging film, and greenhouse film.

The entire regeneration LDPE process mainly consists of four processes:

Firstly, crushing with water powder has a better washing effect, so that the clean film can be blown again without adding new materials.

Next is drying, using a spin dryer to dry the excess water. If conditions permit, it can be dried in the sun, which not only saves electricity costs but also improves quality.

Then there is granulation, which is produced by specialized extruders and is mainly used for re blowing film and injection molding. The material produced from the 60 to 80 mesh filter can be blown again, while the material produced from the 40 to 60 mesh filter can meet the requirements of injection molding.

Finally, cut the cold water into pellets and pay attention to the labeling of the packaging bags. One is for blow molding and the other is for injection molding, and should not be confused.

4. Recycled PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

The majority of PVC hard materials come from building materials, plastic steel windows and doors, electroplated hard panels, drainage pipes, and decorative materials, and their transformation process is:

Firstly, separate the various colors, and these materials are roughly divided into three types: white, gray, and black. Then it is sent to the crusher for crushing, still with water to remove dirt, washed with clean water, and dried in the sun to prevent secondary pollution. Next, the mixer is used for batching and mixing; If it is a white material, add some coloring agent and add additives as needed. Finally, use a dedicated PVC extruder for scraping, cooling, bagging, and labeling before leaving the factory.

5. Recycled ABS (ternary copolymer of acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene)

ABS plastic mostly comes from electrical products, daily necessities, and some small mechanical components, such as computer cases, TV cases, instrument cases, car panels, and decorative materials. The process of transformation is:

Firstly, the materials should be separated, especially the electroplating and painting colors should be separated. Then, chemical treatment, plating and painting removal must be carried out with caution to avoid causing injury incidents. Continue cleaning, sun drying, color matching, or adding auxiliary materials to improve quality. Finally, when using a dedicated extruder for granulation, be sure to place a filter screen, which should be placed according to the product requirements.

6. Recycled PC (polycarbonate)

Most PCs come from textile accessories, car headlights, candy making molds, discs, telecommunications equipment, photography equipment, etc. Their transformation process is: Firstly, select the PC, which includes transparent and opaque, blue, red, green, black, modified, and coated colors.

Then clean the various colors of the PC, as well as the plating process of the disc lamp holder, and operate on the same principle as ABS. Some PCs are relatively yellow and can produce porcelain white; Transparent still produces transparency; Other colors can be added with colorants and material additives. Finally, use a dedicated extruder for granulation, but the PC itself is prone to aging, so it cannot be recycled multiple times. Granulation must be done with caution before cutting and packaging.

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