5 Ways plastic is processed for a second life

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child drowning in plastic bottles

Plastic is everywhere. It is often seen as a scourge on the environment as it does NOT biodegrade (not in our lifetime, our children’s lifetimes, or even our grandchildren’s lifetimes). So, when it is discarded in general trash, it just accumulates in our landfills and ends up plaguing our oceans and waterways.

So, recycling the stuff has become one way of giving plastic a second life.

Every wonder exactly how it is done? Here are a few ways, recycling manufacturers are making use of old plastic:

Thermal Depolymerisation

Plastic is a form of polymer derived from crude oil. Thermal depolymerisation is a way of converting plastics into crude oil products by use of heat pressure and water. It is actually mimicking the process of oil formation. Polymer bonds are broken and formation of new long chain bonds such as those of oil occurs.

This method is good for waste reduction since it’s useable for all types of polymer wastes including biological, plastics, anatomical and glass.

Another benefit is that it produces oil, which until we wean ourselves from our fossil fuel addiction remains a necessary way of powering things.

Bottle to Bottle Recycling

Bottles are the most common packaging containers. They are not destroyed during use and this attribute makes them easily reusable. This attribute also allows for a closed-loop recycle where a post-consumer product is collected, recycled and put into another use. One example is the conversion of plastic containers into high-grade food PETS and HDPE containers.


Polymeric Film Recycling

Plastic films are thin continuous polymeric materials that are used to separate and hold materials and substances. Waste films originate from post-industrial processes, agricultural and commercial processes.

Companies have come up with systematic methods of producing other valuable products from these, like refuse sacks, fencing material, and damp proof membranes.

WEEE and ELV Recycling

WEEE (waste electrical and electronics equipment) and ELV (end of life vehicles) contain a lot of plastic and other waste. When dumped on land they cause extensive damage. There are companies that have come up with methods of separating the materials and diverting them into their other uses.

Recycling Manufacturing Waste

In every manufacturing company, there are waste products in various stages of production. This may be produced by the equipment used or scraps that arise from errors during their production.

Responsible companies have in-house methods of dealing with the scrap. They work to create a more sustainable system that returns scraps into the production process so that they are fully reprocessed.

There are actually companies that specifically deal with the plastic scrap and waste. They use closed loop recycling methods to develop new products.


Here’s the latest episode of The Green Divas Radio Show for more on green and healthy living… 

This post is sponsored by Vanden Recycling Limited

About the author / 

The Green Divas

The Green Divas share low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green through a weekly radio show, podcasts, videos and blog posts. Working with talented partners and credible sources, the Green Divas produce content on a variety of topics relating to a healthy green lifestyle. Visit The Green Divas website to learn more, and check out The Green Divas on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter too!

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