The Complete Plastic Bottle Recycling Process

Hyundai Motorstudio Senayan Park 2022.05.18
The Complete Plastic Bottle Recycling Process
The plastic bottle recycling process is divided into several steps. Generally, these steps are the same for most types of recycling facilities. However, sometimes certain steps are omitted or merged. Here are some steps in doing the plastic recycling process.

1. Collection

This initial step in the plastic bottle recycling process is entirely up to businesses, restaurants and the public to dispose of plastic waste in the right places.

If it is disposed of in a regular trash can, the plastic will not be recycled. From this, we can learn that it is important to separate ordinary waste and plastic waste.

Ideally, the government also needs to have a plastic waste collection system implemented in homes or businesses.

However, if this is not possible, the plastic collection point should be easily accessible to the public, in order to make it easier for those who wish to dispose of their plastic waste properly.

2. Sorting

After the collection stage, the next step in the plastic recycling process is sorting. Usually, plastics are sorted in several general ways. Examples include the type of plastic (the material it is made of), the color of the plastic, or even the method of manufacture.

This step in the plastic bottle recycling process is important, considering that each type of plastic that is not the same must be treated differently.

Moreover, sometimes some recycling facilities are only able to recycle one type of plastic waste. In addition, the separation of plastic by type and color is also related to the selling price of shredded plastic. According to recycling practitioners, clear plastic is more expensive than colored plastic.

3. Washing

It's not just clothes, or even fruits and vegetables that need to be washed. The plastic that will be recycled is the same before going to a further stage.

The goal of this step in plastic recycling is to remove dirt and anything that isn't made of plastic. As we know, many containers and packaging have labels, adhesives, or even food residue that needs to be removed.

The reason is that non-plastic waste cannot be recycled and can cause the final product to be of poor quality.

4. Resizing (changing size)

One of the steps in the article on how to recycle this plastic is done by crushing or making plastic waste granules into smaller particles.

This will increase the surface area of ​​the plastic, making it easier to process, reshape, and transport if needed.

In addition, this plastic bottle recycling process is the last chance to dispose of non-plastic waste that has accidentally gone through the previous 3 steps.

5. Identification and separation of plastic

Identification and separation of plastics means when small plastic particles are tested to determine their quality and grade. In this stage of the plastic recycling process, the first quality that is tested is the level of density.

This process is carried out by floating the particles in a large water tank. Later, the less dense particles will float, while the denser particles will sink. Then air classification is carried out to measure how thick or thin a particle is.

This step in the plastic recycling process is done by dropping particles into small wind tunnels. Later, the smaller pieces will fly higher up the tunnel while the bigger ones will be on the lower level.

In addition, there are two other factors that are commonly tested in this waste recycling process, namely the melting point and color. This stage is determined by collecting and analyzing samples from each batch of plastic particles.

6. Compounding

This final step in the plastic recycling process is often considered the most exciting. Moreover, at this stage, the particles will be made into recycled materials that can later be used for future production.

Compounding is the stage when small particles are crushed and melted into plastic pellets. Furthermore, these pellets can be used for the production of other plastics.

Products made from plastic recycling process

Over the past few years, more and more products from the plastic recycling process have been produced. Examples are ranging from skateboards, bags, to sunglasses.

The increasing number of products from the plastic recycling process is a positive sign. People are starting to become more aware of the negative impacts of plastics as well as the tremendous benefits of plastic recycling.

How much plastic is recycled?

Since the mass production of plastics began in the 1950s, we have generated more than 8.3 billion tons of plastic waste. 

Of that much waste, unfortunately only 9% goes through the plastic recycling process. Meanwhile, of the remaining 91%, around 12% have been burned and 79% are still in landfills.

Just imagine, the plastic waste will be in landfills for hundreds of years before being degraded if at all possible. Sadly, during that time, the addition of plastic waste will also accumulate.

Plastic diet to surviving marine life

The plastic recycling process is one of the best solutions to overcome the problem of plastic waste accumulation. As we know, most of this waste eventually reaches the oceans, rivers, and land. This can cause environmental problems, one of which threatens the survival of marine life. In the plastic recycling process, there are steps that need to be taken, starting from collection, sorting, washing, resizing, identification and separation of plastics, and compounding as the final stage.

Related to this, the sorting stage can be said to be the most important part in the plastic recycling process. Plastic that has been mixed with other waste cannot be recycled. Keep in mind, actually not all types of plastic can be recycled. Plastic codes numbered 1, 2, 4 and 5 are plastics that can be recycled, while codes 3, 6, and 7 cannot be recycled.

So, what happens to plastic waste that is said to be non-recyclable? This is the time for us to start caring for the environment. Apart from recycling plastic, there is nothing wrong with going on a plastic diet.