Should Downcycling be considered Recycling?

When it comes to biodegradable plastics many people have something to say. Opinions range from appreciating the biodegradable technology, wanting all plastics to be banned, pushing for re-usable alternatives, being all for recycling, or having some other viewpoint. When it comes down to recycling, are plastics products even recycled?

sorting through plastic at recycling facility

One of the first steps at a recycling facility is the sorting of the items. At this point, plastic is sorted by type. (You can learn more about the different recycling numbers here.) Unfortunately, numerous facilities only process some of these types of plastic so the leftovers are either sold to another facility, or sadly thrown into a landfill. Note : Just because you place something in the recycling bin, don’t assume that it is going to be recycled.

The plastics that were kept by the facility will then be ground up into pieces and melted down. Once the plastic is melted, it is formed into pellets. These pellets, also known as nurdles, can be made into fibers used for  all sorts of clothing, wood products, carpeting, toy stuffing, floor mats and tiles and other similar items.


This process is referred to as  downcycling. When plastics are downcycled the plastic can only be used as something it was not originally used for, and once that life is over it typically ends in incineration or being thrown in a landfill.

recycling incinerator








Thanks for the info