Plastics Recycling

Market Overview

There has been extreme growth in the use of plastics in manufacturing and packaging over the last several years. Plastic is estimated to continue to grow in the future as well. With the increased use of plastic it has significantly increased the volume of plastic in waste streams. Plastic waste has also increased because of quickly outdated electronics. Technology is improving so fast that many times outdated electronics are discarded and need to be recycled. Many electronics have plastic housing which needs to be removed and recycled. The value of plastics are closely tied to petroleum prices as that is what it is made from. There are also many different types of plastic and value between the types varies.

Types of Plastics:
#1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Example: water and soda bottles
#2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Natural/Colored Example: milk jugs and laundry detergent containers
#3 V (Vinyl) Example: clear food packaging and shampoo bottles
#4 LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) Example: squeezable bottles and bread bags
#5 PP (Polypropylene) Example: ketchup bottles and yogurt containers
#6 PS (Polystyrene) Example: Styrofoam cups and meat trays
#7 O (Other) All other types that do not fit into one of the other types

Market Challenges

Plastic is not a very dense material and plastic containers can contain a lot of air. This makes it expensive to transport loose plastic before compaction, baling or shredding. Equipment to process plastics is very expensive and can be labor intense. Most types of plastic do not hold a high value and can be expensive to process. #3-#7 often hold little if any value and are hard to sort out of waste streams. #1 and #2 plastics hold a higher value but the value fluctuates like any commodity and is closely tied to the price of petroleum. When the cost of petroleum is down in makes it very inexpensive to use in making new plastic dropping the value of recycled plastic.

Market Compliancy

With many types of plastic not having much value it can make some types hard to recycle. A lot of the time these low to no value plastics end up in the landfill instead of being recycled. Laws and regulations have been passed to prevent this in the processing of electronics but plastics from most other sources do not have similar regulations in place. Like most recycled commodities, contamination can be a big issue. If plastic is coming out of a mixed stream it needs to be sorted separately from other materials as well as other types of plastics before it can be recycled.

Fluent Conveyors Solutions

Fluent Conveyors offers a wide range of conveyors, sorting lines, and sorting systems that can help process all types of plastic. Slider bed conveyors can be used to sort plastic or as an in feed conveyor to feed plastic into shredders and balers. Steel belt and combo belt roller chain conveyors can be used as infeed conveyors for sorting lines, shredders, and balers. Working through our dealer network Fluent Conveyors can help with the optimized setup for your unique operation.

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