Plastic bags are used globally on a large scale for various purposes. At the same time, they are greatly responsible to make our environment unstable. They are manufactured from the low density polythene which is a non-biodegradable product. Although they can be degraded through photodegradation, the process involves release of small toxic products which are hazardous to the environment. Improper disposal of polythene bags and its non-biodegradable nature, thus, makes plastic a threat for the environment. Deposition of plastic bags on the ground results in clog landfills, because of the inability to degrade them. Plastic bags when accumulated on water bodies become harmful to the aquatic life. In such a scenario, recycling of plastic bags comes as a savior. Recycling not only eliminates the wastes, but also helps meet the high demand of plastic. The good news is both high and low density polyethylene can be easily recycled. Also, recycling saves a lot of energy, as the process of manufacturing plastic bags demands a huge amount of energy. The process of recycling consumes 20%- 40% lesser energy for the production of new products. The space of manufacturing the plastic is also saved with its recycling. Recycled plastic can be used in many ways such as to make rugs, mats, etc. In the following lines, the different recycling processes for plastic bags are given.
How To Recycle Plastic Bags
Types Of Plastics
- Type 1 is PET and PETE or polyethylene. Such type of plastics are commonly used in water bottles.
- Type 2 is HDPE or high density polyethylene. Commonly used in trash and shopping bags. Also in the milk jugs.
- Type 3 is PVC or polyvinylchloride. PVC piping is the most common form of this plastic type.
- Type 4 is LDPE or low density polyethylene. This type is used in the packaging of frozen food.
- Type 5 is polypropylene of PP. Tupperware, disposable cups, etc. are some examples of polypropylene.
- Type 6 is PS or polystyrene. These plastics are use in egg cartons and packing peanuts.
- Type 7 refers to all the remaining types of plastic.
- Amongst all the types of plastics present, Type 1, 2 and 6 are most commonly recycled ones.
- The plastics are collected from the recycling bins and drop off boxes.
- Before the recycling process, plastics undergo material recovery process in which they are sorted out in terms of their resin identification code. This code is given to categorize the polymer type. They are also separated according to their color.
- The plastics are then inspected and washed. Plastics which can be recycled are shredded. These shredded elements of the plastic undergo a process which eliminates impurities such as paper labels, etc.
- The product so available is chopped into smaller particles and floated in a floating tank and dried in a tumbler. Later, it is melted and extruded into pellet forms.
- The melted plastic is made to pass through a screen, which removes all the contaminants from it and is formed into strands.
- These are then used to manufacture other products.
This process makes the plastic recycling easier. In this process, condensation polymer undergoes the inverse of the polymerization reaction. This reaction carries out the similar mix of chemicals which are responsible to form the original polymer. This mix of chemicals is purified and used to generate a new chain of the same polymer.
In thermal depolymerization process, assorted polymers are converted into petroleum. This process is very efficient, as it can accept almost every polymer or a mix of polymers.
This process is widely coming up in United States, Australia and Japan. The heat compression process accepts all the unsorted and cleaned plastics in all the forms, ranging from the soft plastic bags to heavy industrial waste. However, this process is costly as a lot of energy is required to rotate the giant drums.
Now that you are aware of the different processes to recycle plastic, reduce the waste and reuse your plastic bags and contribute for a greener environment!