Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. Since the vast majority of plastic is non-biodegradable, recycling is a part of global efforts to reduce plastic in the waste stream, especially the approximately eight million metric tonnes of waste plastic that enter the Earth’s ocean recycling of plastic pdf year.
This helps to reduce the high rates of plastic pollution. Plastic recycling includes taking any type of plastic, sorting it into different polymers and then chipping it and then melting it down into pellets. After this stage, it can then be used to make items of any sort such as plastic chairs and tables. Soft Plastics are also recycled such as polyethylene film and bags.
This closed-loop operation has taken place since the 1970s and has made the production of some plastic products amongst the most efficient operations today. Compared with lucrative recycling of metal, and similar to the low value of glass, plastic polymers recycling is often more challenging because of low density and low value.
There are also numerous technical hurdles to overcome when recycling plastic. Heating alone is not enough to dissolve such a large molecule, so plastics must often be of nearly identical composition to mix efficiently. When different types of plastics are melted together, they tend to phase-separate, like oil and water, and set in these layers.
The phase boundaries cause structural weakness in the resulting material, meaning that polymer blends are useful in only limited applications. The two most widely manufactured plastics, polypropylene and polyethylene behave this way, which limits their utility for recycling.