Recycling Of Plastics

Transpaco Recycling is proud to be one of the largest polyethylene recyclers of post consumer plastic waste in South Africa. Transpaco Recycling is firmly committed to the re-use of resources by recycling materials that would ordinarily end up in solid waste dumps.  As a packaging company we are committed to the preservation of the environment as evidenced by our substantial investment in the recycling industry.

The Recycling Process

Plastic materials are collected from various sources, such as households, supermarkets, factories and garbage dumps. The collected materials are then sorted by type of plastics and often colour. The sorted plastics are then baled, especially bags, and transported to the plastics recycler.

The recycler opens the baled plastics and feeds them into a granulator that reduces the size of the incoming material into flakes or granules.

The granules are then put through a washing plant to remove labels, residual contents and soil.

After the granules have been dried, they are fed into an extruder. The extruder melts down the dry granules. The molten plastics are then forced through a multi-hole screen in the form of strings.

The strings are water-cooled in a bath and chopped up into pellets by a revolving cutter. The pellets are bagged and sold to a factory that uses them to produce a new plastic article.

Plastic Types, Characteristics and Dangers

Individuals have a way to identify the type of plastic in many products, especially food storage containers and packaging. Many, but not all, such plastic products have a number – the resin identification code – moulded, formed or imprinted in or on the container, often on the bottom. 

This system of coding was developed in 1988 by the US-based Society of the Plastics Industry to facilitate the recycling of post-consumer plastics. It is voluntary for plastic manufacturers, but has become relatively standard on certain plastic products sold globally. Knowing the code for a particular product, consumers can then inform themselves of the characteristics of the plastic and the risks of using that product.

The seven plastic resin codes are each briefly described below to provide a quick snapshot detailing the name of the resin (i.e., the base material of the plastic), typical products it is found in, dangerous chemicals it leaches, and why they are dangerous.

How do you identify different types of plastic?

Many items made out of plastic have a code or letters on to tell you what type of plastic they are. The most commonly recycled plastics are those used for bottles. They are PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). The table below shows different types of plastic and what can be made from that type of plastic when it has been recycled.

The different types of uses for recycled waste plastics

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