mainheader
healthlogo
 
Bottles
 

Recycling

How does plastic recycling work?

How much plastic material can be recycled?

What does the number surrounded by the three recycle arrows on the bottom of plastic container mean?

Which plastics are recyclable?

What does upcycling mean in relation to recycling?

Can ENSO plastics be recycled with traditional plastics?

Does ENSO additive weaken or cause recycled plastic to become vulnerable to wind, rain or sun?

Is it possible to extract the ENSO additive back out of plastic?

How does plastic recycling work?

Successful recovery of plastic -- like any material -- requires an infrastructure that can get plastics from the consumer and back into use as new products. The plastics recycling infrastructure has four parts:

  • Collection - Rather than being thrown away, plastics (primarily PET and HDPE) are collected for recycling. Curbside collection with other materials and drop-off at recycling centers are common plastics collection methods.
  • Handling - Plastics from collection programs are sorted to increase their value and compacted to reduce shipping costs.
  • Reclamation - In conventional recycling, sorted plastics are chopped, washed and converted into flakes or pellets that are then processed into new products. Advanced recycling technologies can take mixed plastics back to their original building blocks (monomers or petroleum feedstocks). These can then be recycled into a number of different products, including new plastics.
  • End-use - Reclaimed plastic pellets or flakes-or petroleum feedstocks-are used to manufacture new products.

Most plastics can be recycled, but they have to be separated into their different polymer types. Because of the difficulty and expense of sorting, collecting, cleaning and reprocessing, at the moment it is only economically viable to recycle PETE and HDPE.

How much plastic material can be recycled?

During the recycling process there is usually a certain amount of loss and waste. Approximately 90% of the recycled plastic material can be reused with 10% ending up as waste. Recycling also impacts the integrity of the plastic and prevents the recycled plastic from being used at high quantities in products that require high performance. This is the reason recycled plastic ends up being downcycled into products that don’t require the high performance- such as fibers for jackets and carpets, fillers and molded parts.

What does the number surrounded by the three recycle arrows on the bottom of plastic containermean?

The SPI resin identification coding system is a set of symbols placed on plastics to identify the polymer type. It was developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988, and used internationally.

The symbols used in the code consist of arrows that cycle clockwise to form a rounded triangle and enclosing a number, often with an acronym representing the plastic below the triangle. When the number is omitted, the symbol is known as the universal Recycling Symbol, indicating generic recyclable materials. In this case, other text and labels are used to indicate the material(s) used. Previously recycled resins are coded with an "R" prefix (for example, a PETE bottle made of recycled resin could be marked as RPETE using same numbering).

Contrary to misconceptions, the number does not indicate how hard the item is to recycle, nor how often the plastic was recycled. It is an arbitrary number and has no other meaning aside from identifying the specific plastic.

The Unicode character encoding standard includes the resin identification codes, between code points U+2673 and U+2679 inclusive. The generic material recycling symbol is encoded as code point U+267A.

Read more - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resin_identification_code

Which plastics are recyclable?

When it comes to recycling plastic bags and plastic bottles, the process is pretty much black and white.  We get into a gray area when talking about plastic containers (also known as rigid plastics or wide-mouth containers i.e. peanut butter jar or bleach bottle).  A rigid plastic is defined as “a formed or molded plastic container that serves as a package, and maintains its shape when empty and unsupported.” 

Typically although these plastics can be the same PET resin type as a bottle, they are not recycled due to the extra time required to identify and sort the various plastic resins used.  This packaging usually ends up in landfills and not recycled.

According to NAPCOR (National Association for PET Container Resources) stated that in 2007, 635,000 metric tons of PET containers were recycled, but three times as much – or nearly 1.95 million metric tons of PET containers were NOT recycled.

What does upcycling mean in relation to recycling?

Upcycling is a component of sustainability in which waste materials are used to provide new products. It is generally a reinvestment in the environment. "Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value.  This process allows for the reduction of waste and virgin material use.

There is some debate on whether recycling plastic is truly upcycling.  Many people misuse this term by synonymously referring to it the same as recycling.  Most products which are made from recycled plastic material are made into products which have a very good chance of not being recycled.  For example, many PET bottles are recycled into Polyester fibers which are used in winter coats and carpet.  These products one their useful life is complete will most likely end up in the landfill and not recycled.

Can ENSO plastics be recycled with traditional plastic?

Yes, the ENSO additive does not change the physical characteristics of the base polymer. ENSO has performed a number of 3rd party tests to validate the same physical properties remain once products containing ENSO are processed for second life products.

The ENSO additive hydrostatically bonds to the polymer chain and does not chemically bond to it. Because of this the same physical properties (tensile strength, permeation, melt flow, intrinsic viscosity, etc) remain unchanged. Recycling ENSO plastics along with traditional plastics will not impact the physical characteristics of the second life product.

Because the ENSO bottles additive does not activate until placed into a highly microbial environment there is no concern with biodegradation until the material is placed into the proper environment.

Do ENSO plastics weaken or cause recycled PET to become vulnerable to wind, rain or sun?

No, the ENSO additive does not change the physical characteristics of the base polymer. The ENSO additive does not activate until placed into a highly microbial environment, there is no concern with biodegradation until the material is placed into the proper environment. This means that products that are enhanced with ENSO do not begin to break down due to environmental conditions such as UV, oxygen or moisture. ENSO requires an active microbial environment before biodegradation can begin.

Is it possible to extract the ENSO additive back out of polymers?

Currently, there is no cost effective way to extract the ENSO additive from a manufactured product. It is technically possible to do this by heating the bottle to the point of burning off the additive (over 600F) which at that point the ENSO additive organic compounds could possibly be recaptured, however this is not recommended.

How do I contact ENSO Plastics for additional Information?

Contact Information:

Telephone
866-936-3676 or
602-639-4228

Fax
602-639-4228

Email
sales@ensoplastics.com

Company Brochure

 

Terms of Use | Privacy Statement | ENSO Design © 2011 ENSO Plastics. All rights reserved.