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A Spike of Plastic Demand in Corona Virus Pandemic

A spike in demand for protective equipment, takeaway packaging and single-use bottles during the coronavirus pandemic is leading to a surge in plastic waste. This contribution to our collective rubbish is offsetting the expected decrease in plastic waste generation as a result of the current decline in economic activity. At the same time, efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 have seen recycling efforts such as those run by municipalities, airlines and other businesses put o

Why Should We Turn Plastic Waste Into Fuel?

he federal government recently announced that it is giving recycling company ResourceCo a loan of A$30 million to build two waste-to-fuel plants producing “solid waste fuel”. Waste-to-energy is an important part of the waste industry in Europe. Significant demand for heat means efficient and tightly controlled waste incinerators are common. However, Australia lacks an established market, with low levels of community acceptance and no clear government policy encouraging its up

Are Plastic Straws A Big Deal?

With a rising interest in action against plastic pollution, plastic straws have received a lot of attention. They’ve been a focus in the media as corporations, restaurant chains and cafe outlets have pledged to ban or phase them out completely. But are straws a big deal? Not really. It’s estimated that if all straws around the world’s coastlines were lost to the ocean, this would account for approximately 0.03 percent of ocean plastics. A global ban on their use could therefo

Recycling PET Plastic

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a highly recyclable plastic resin and a form of polyester. It is a polymer created by the combination of two monomers: modified ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid. It was first synthesized in North America by Dupont chemists during the 1940s. Labeled with the #1 code on or near the bottom of bottles and containers, PET is frequently used to package a range of products including beverages, peanut butter, bakery goods, produce, fr

Plastic Recycling Symbol No 7

A wide variety of plastic resins that don't fit into the previous categories are lumped into this one. Polycarbonate is number seven plastic, and it's the hard plastic that has worried parents after studies have shown it as a hormone disruptor. PLA (polylactic acid), which is made from plants and is carbon neutral, also falls into this category. Found in: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, bullet-proof materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and display

Plastic Recycling Symbol No 6

PS (polystyrene) can be made into rigid or foam products — in the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Styrene monomer (a type of molecule) can leach into foods and is a possible human carcinogen, while styrene oxide is classified as a probable carcinogen. The material was long on environmentalists' hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle. Most places still don't accept it in foam forms beca

Plastic Recycling Symbol No 5

PP (polypropylene) has a high melting point, so it's often chosen for containers that will hold hot liquid. It's gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers. Found in: Some yogurt containers, syrup and medicine bottles, caps, straws How to recycle it: PP can be recycled through some curbside programs, just don't forget to make sure there's no food left inside. It's best to throw loose caps into the garbage since they easily slip through screens during recycling and end up a

Plastic Recycling Symbol No 4

LDPE (low density polyethylene) is a flexible plastic with many applications. Historically, it hasn't been accepted through most American recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it. Found in: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning, and shopping bags; tote bags; furniture How to recycle it: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities might accept it. That means anything made with LDPE (like toothpast

Plastic Recycling Symbol No 3

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and V (vinyl) is tough and weathers well, so it's commonly used for things like piping and siding. PVC is also cheap, so it's found in plenty of products and packaging. Because chlorine is part of PVC, it can result in the release of highly dangerous dioxins during manufacturing. Remember to never burn PVC, because it releases toxins. Found in: Shampoo and cooking oil bottles, blister packaging, wire jacketing, siding, windows, piping How to recycle i

Plastic Recycling Symbol No 2

HDPE (high density polyethylene) is a versatile plastic with many uses, especially when it comes to packaging. It carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many types of goods. Found in: Milk jugs; juice bottles; bleach, detergent, and other household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners How to recycle it: HDPE can often be picked up through most curbside recycling progra

Plastic Recycling Symbol No 1

PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) is the most common plastic for single-use bottled beverages, because it's inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to recycle. It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products. Its recycling rates remain relatively low (around 20%), even though the material is in high demand by manufacturers. Found in: Soft drinks, water, ketchup, and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers How t

Demand vs Supply of PET Bottle

The growing national consumption of single-serving water bottles made from raw materials is an unnecessary waste of resources, as dozens of recycling businesses have the capacity to recycle these and other PET bottles. They have an economic interest in recycling. Scrap bottles provide a cost saving alternative to virgin resin both for processors and end-users, who manufacture new bottles and other plastic products. NAPCOR’s ‘2004 Report on Post-Consumer PET Recycling Activity

Global Phenomenon of Bottled Water

Although the US leads the world in the consumption of bottled water, at 26 billion litres in 2004, the bottled water craze is a global phenomenon. According to Beverage Marketing Corporation, worldwide consumption reached 154 billion litres (41 billion gallons) in 2004, an increase of 57% in five years. Mexico, with a population slightly more than one-third that of the US, is the second largest consumer of bottled water, at 18 billion litres annually. At 12 billion litres eac

The Future of Plastic Recycling

In today’s market, the only way to ensure plastics will be properly recycled is for manufacturers to make all of the above considerations when designing their products and packaging. This can be particularly challenging for products with strict packaging requirements, such as food or beverages that must use certain packaging formats to increase shelf life and preserve the product. While the U.S. as a whole may be a ways off from emulating European (or even Californian) recycl

Turning Plastic Pollution into Energy

Today 31% of plastic waste in the EU ends up in landfill, having a devastating effect on our ecosystems and oceans. Even with ambitious recycling targets in place – the UK aims to recycle 50% of all household waste by 2020 – we’re still a long way from resolving the issue. But Dr Anh Phan, a lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, may have a solution. She is currently leading a pioneering research project to convert waste plastic into

Recycling Post-Consumer Waste

Also read Once a plastic material or finished product is at its end of life, it ends up in the waste stream, becoming post-consumer plastic eligible for recycling. Post-consumer plastic waste differs from pre-consumer – or post-industrial – waste, which is production waste coming from industrial sites, i.e. before being used by consumers. It is worth highlighting that pre-consumer plastic waste is produced in large qua

What is Post-Consumer Waste?

Post-consumer waste is a waste type produced by the end consumer of a material stream; that is, where the waste-producing use did not involve the production of another product. The terms of pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled materials are not defined in the ISO standard number 14021 (1999) but pre-consumer and post-consumer materials are. These definitions are the most widely recognized and verified definitions as used by manufacturers and procurement officers worldwide.

Sustainability of Recycled Polyester

Nearly half of the world’s clothing is made of polyester and Greenpeace forecasts this amount to nearly double by 2030. The athleisure trend if one of the main reasons behind it: an increasing number of consumers are look for stretchier, more resistant garments. The problem is, polyester is not a sustainable textile option, as it is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most common type of plastic in the world. In short, the majority of our clothes come from crude o

Increasing The Quality of Recycled Plastic

A team of Swedish scientists have found a new way to break down plastic so that it can be recycled into material the same quality as the original — a process they say could help shift the focus of the plastics industry to recycling and drastically reduce the amount of pollution that ends up in the world’s oceans. The technique involves heating discarded plastic to around 850 degrees Celsius until it turns into a gas mixture. That mixture “can then be recycled at the molecular

Polyester Recycling

Although it is a common assumption that textiles made from natural materials such as cotton and silk are more environmentally friendly than textiles made from man-made materials, the case for polyester fibre proves this to be incorrect. Polyester is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that creates damaging environmental impacts during the extraction process. However, when considering the whole lifecycle of the fibre, from the raw materials, through the use phase to

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