For many people, the act of plastic recycling starts and ends with rinsing out a plastic container and throwing it in the recycle bin. However, this simple step is really just the beginning of the fascinating plastic recycling process. As the world’s largest plastics recycler, KW Plastics has been an industry leader in the end-to-end process of plastic scrap recycling for more than 30 years. We begin our process by purchasing and preparing plastic scrap for its eventual transformation into recycled consumer goods through the production process. Today, we will take a closer look at the process from beginning to end.
Preparation of Raw Materials
Have you ever wondered where your recyclable plastics go once they are picked up by your curbside recycling program? Are you curious how it is prepared for repurposing? Before your plastic item can be recycled, it first must be prepared through a very specific process.
- Collecting: Once picked up by your curbside recycling program, plastic items are collected and delivered to a collecting yard. At the collection yard, the plastic scrap is packed into bales and transported to various plants (like KW Plastics!) that work to process the plastic. But, what’s involved in processing?
- Separating: The first step in producing quality recycled plastic products is proper separating and sorting of the various plastic colors and resins. High-tech machines work to sort by resin, then highly-trained technicians work to sort by the symbols we reviewed in a prior blog.
- Shredding: Once separated, the plastic goods are shredded and ripped into tiny pieces to further prep it for the production process. These shredded pieces of plastic material are separated even further by weight using specially-developed machinery.
- Cleaning and Identification: Once these tiny pieces of plastic scrap material are shredded and sorted, they undergo a cleaning process to remove any contaminants that were left behind. The cleansing process involves detergents and heated drying under moderate temperatures. The clean plastic bits are then passed through even more machinery to further ensure proper separation of resin types.
Production of Recycled Goods
Once the plastic scrap goes through these five steps, it is properly prepared to be processed into quality, recycled plastic consumer goods! This production process is not as complex as the preparation process, but still relies on specially-designed machines and techniques. In the production process, the prepared pellets undergo a few steps more steps, including:
- Melting: During this process, the prepared plastic pieces are melted down under highly-regulated and specific temperatures. Once melted down, the plastic is transformed into tiny pellets or granules.
- Extrusion: In their pellet form, recycled plastic materials are ready for mass-manufacturing applications. There are various extrusion methods (such as injection and blow molding) used to transform this recycled material into sustainable, everyday items!
From preparation to production, the process of recycling plastic scrap into new consumer items is truly revolutionary. As you can see, the process is designed to ensure only the most pure and clean recycled products. KW Plastics is committed to the quality processing of plastic scrap to create sustainable solutions for the manufacturing industry. If you’re interested in learning more about our recycling process, or if you’re in the market for superior plastic resins, contact our sales department today!