How to carry out the correct treatment of plastic wasteby Marsh Maxwell Web Digital Group
Plastic is a cheap, versatile and durable material, which has spread its use for the manufacture of containers, construction elements, parts for cars or engines, furniture, etc. In total, it is estimated that currently 7% of the weight of household garbage and 20% of its volume correspond to plastic waste.
However, plastic waste that comes from fossil elements such as oil, coal, natural gas or cellulose mixed with other additives (to give it properties such as flexibility, transparency, rigidity, insulating capacity, color, etc. ), present a major drawback for the environment: most of them are not biodegradable , so their management and treatment must always be carried out in a professional manner with companies specialized in the sector.
Classification of plastic waste
Depending on the macromolecules that compose them, we can establish three types of plastics:
- Thermoplastics . This type of plastics, mouldable and deformable at room temperature, turn into a liquid when heated and harden into a glassy state when cooled.
- Thermostable . Thermostable plastics become rigid materials after a heating-melting and forming-solidification process.
- Elastomers . Elastomers are plastics with great elasticity and ability to stretch and that can recover their original shape when we "remove" the force that deforms them.
In order to facilitate the treatment of plastic waste and its recycling , the Asian has established a code (Resin Identification Code or RIC, integrated within the Asian Waste Catalog) that, through a numerical pattern from 1 to 7 and a series of acronyms, identifies the waste based on the type of plastic polymer with which it is manufactured.
- PET or PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) . Recycled plastics used to make containers and drinks for bottles of water, soft drinks, etc.
- PE-HD or HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). Another type of recyclable plastic for packaging of juices, perfumes, liquid detergents, etc.
- PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) . It is a toxic plastic that is used to package non-food products such as cables, pipes, etc.
- LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene). With this type of plastic easily moldable elements such as squeeze cans, flexible lids or garbage bags are made.
- PP (Polypropylene) . It is a common plastic in the automotive and construction industry with which engine parts, batteries, funnels, etc. are manufactured.
- PS (Polystyrene) . With expanded polystyrene, many of the disposable items used in food can be made, such as cutlery, plates, trays, etc.
- Others . Those plastics that are classified with the number 7 and the letter 0 are considered highly polluting and are the only ones that cannot be recycled.
Plastic collection: current regulations
The amount of plastic containers used in homes is very high, so citizen collaboration is essential for the treatment and management of plastic waste. In fact, 80% of plastic waste for recycling comes from homes, from where it must be separated from the rest of the garbage and then deposited in the yellow containers.
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At the Asian level, the treatment of plastic waste is reflected in the Directive on waste and in the Directive on packaging waste.
Management and treatment of plastic waste in the recycling plant
Once the plastic waste reaches the recycling plant, the hardest containers are separated manually. The separation is carried out according to the type of material (PET, white HDPE and mixed HDPE on the one hand and PVC and other plastics on the other).
Plastic waste is usually recycled mechanically. The objective is to crush and compact the material to reuse it in the manufacture of new plastic containers. Sometimes it is the companies themselves that manage the treatment of the plastic waste they produce, although generally these are deposited in specialized plants.
The phases of the mechanical plastic waste recycling process are:
- Crushed . It consists of cutting the pieces into small grains to later treat them.
- Washing . Both to remove impurities and to separate the different plastics by density. Washing is especially important in post-consumer waste and is carried out in large tanks.
- Spinning and drying.
- Granced . Through this process it is possible to homogenize the material by casting, tinting and cutting the plastic into small pieces.
- Extrusion. It consists of pressing the material, by continuous flow of pressure and push, to pass it to a mold where it will acquire the desired shape.
The treatment of plastic waste can also be carried out chemically . This process consists of degrading the plastic material using heat or catalysts to break down the macromolecules that form it and obtain simpler molecules (monomers), to make other plastics. The most important ways to do this are:
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Created on Sep 30th 2020 05:25. Viewed 111 times.