In this article, we look at how Plastic Reprocessing Facilities transform recycled plastic into a sellable product and what the market demand is for recycled plastic.
Recycling is a business. Revenue is generated from selling reprocessed plastic pellets to companies to produce new products. After the plastic is sorted out of mixed waste at Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs), it is baled and sold to Plastic Reprocessing Facilities, where it is turned into a usable product. Let's look at the step-by-step process for reprocessing post-consumer plastic.
Recycled plastic pellets are bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand in the United States and the world.
The pellets from the reprocessing process are sold and can be turned into new products such as carbonated drink bottles, food containers, or fibers for clothing using techniques like blow molding, thermoforming, and spinning.
PET (#1) is the most commonly recycled plastic (at 14.39% of plastic waste). Below we look at a breakdown of selling recycled PET in 2016.
In the above scenario, recycled PET needs to be $1.34/kg to be profitable. A number of factors affect the profitability of recycled plastic, including the price of oil (the lower the price of oil, the cheaper it is to produce high-quality products from virgin material), legislation (legislating the use of PCR in products impacts the demand for recycled plastic), and government incentives.
The price of oil greatly impacts the price of plastic and the profitability of plastic recycling. The lower the price of oil, the less profitable the recycling process becomes and it reduces the costs of producing virgin plastic material.
There is a long list of products that can and do use recycled plastic! Each type of plastic has specific items it can be repurposed into. These products include rugs, plastic toys, shoes, bags, clothing, bottles, and even yoga mats. Always keep your eye out for products that use recycled plastic!
In 2013, 35.5 million tons of plastic waste was produced. Even at the relatively low recycling rate of 9.2%, 3.27 million tons of plastic waste was neither landfilled or burned, thus not polluting the environment.
It depends on the type of plastic. However, recycling plastic downgrades its quality so it does have a finite amount of times it can be recycled. On average, a plastic can be down-cycled 2-3 times before it can no longer be used.
There are 193 PRFs in the U.S.
The end product is always lower quality, creating barriers to the type of product it can be recycled into. This goes for both mechanical and molecular recycling.
We don't just talk the talk, at Smart Plastic we prove everything we say with credible third-party testing. Below you will find the corresponding tests that apply to all our claims.