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  • Writer's pictureNara Loca

Recycling or Downcycling?

Ocean Cleanup is working on how best to reprocess, and brand, the material it collects, hoping that a willing market will emerge for its uniquely sourced product. Even if the company’s engineers and researchers can figure out how to sort it all, there are physical limitations to how useful the collected plastic will be.

The act of recycling involves grinding up materials into very small pieces before melting and reforming them. An inescapable part of that process is that every time plastic is recycled, its polymers – the long chemical sequences that provide its structure – become shorter.

Generally speaking, lighter and more flexible types of plastic can only be recycled into denser, harder materials – unless large amounts of new virgin plastic are added to the mixture. After one or two rounds of recycling, the possibilities for reuse become very limited. At that point, the “downcycled” plastic material is formed into textiles, car bumpers or plastic lumber, none of which end up anywhere else but the landfill. The plastic becomes garbage. is a recycled plastic specialist that promotes the use of recycled PET flakes, recycled PET chips, recycled PP & HDPE granules to various plastic and polyester manufacturers.

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