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Posted: 7/20/20130 Entries
New plastics recycling study shows potential for economic growth
By Weekly News

New plastics recycling study shows potential for economic growth

Weekly News article published: February 5, 2013 by the Central Office

MADISON – Wisconsin could realize substantial economic rewards and jobs growth by recycling more of the valuable plastics that currently end up in its landfills, concludes a recent study commissioned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The study found that used plastics have real monetary value to processors and manufacturers within Wisconsin. Yet despite a comprehensive statewide recycling program and a strong recycling ethic, hundreds of tons of valuable plastics are still sent

to Wisconsin landfills every day. The study estimates some $64 million in recyclable plastic materials is landfilled each year.

DNR commissioned the study to identify actions that can be taken now to capture and recycle more of these valuable used plastics, thereby creating jobs and boosting state economic development. “In addition to the benefits to businesses and employment, increasing plastics recycling would provide environmental benefits by prolonging the life of landfills and reducing pollution,” said Cynthia Moore, DNR recycling program coordinator,.

The study, authored jointly by Foth Infrastructure and Environment and by Moore Recycling Associates, lists actions Wisconsin can take to substantially increase plastics recovery rates. Moore said the actions “could be implemented individually or as a coordinated approach, and target the most valuable and commonly used plastic containers, such as consumer beverage bottles and containers for household cleaning products.”

The study also emphasizes the potential to increase recycling of plastic bags and other film plastics, as well as the

less c

ommonly recovered rigid plastics such as clamshell containers, margarine tubs and drink cups. Spurred by this study, the DNR has already agreed to conduct a pilot project this spring to expand recycling of flexible film packaging. The film recycling project will be carried out under a Memorandum of Understanding with two national business groups, the American Chemistry Council’s Flexible Film Recycling Group and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s GreenBlue Foundation.

The project will focus on expanding consumer recycling of plastic film packaging, extending recycling opportunities at small and mid-sized businesses in the state. “This public-private partnership is a win-win for both the environment and the economy,” said D

NR Secretary Cathy Stepp.

Currently, Wisconsin’s plastic industry is ranked 8th nationally in plastics industry employment, providing jobs for some 40,000 people, with a direct payroll of $1.6 billion. “Increasing plastics recycling in the state will open the door for greater economic and job development particularly through expansion of existing business but also in creation of new business,” said Dan Krivit, senior project manager for Foth and co-author of the report.

“There is a strong and growing demand for recycled plastics,” says Patty Moore, President of Moore Recycling Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in plastics recycling. “Even the highest volume, highest value plastic items are only recycled at about 30 percent nationally. With a coordinated approach to increasing the supply of used plastics from Wisconsin, the state could triple its plastics recycling rate and still not exceed the demand from domestic markets, many of which are located right in Wisconsin.”

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Posted: 7/9/2013
Recycling Plastic
By Jayashree Pakhare
Plastic is a common material that is now widely used by everybody in this world. Plastic is used in many ways as it is light weight and compact. The maintenance required is little. Common plastic items that are used are bags, bottles, containers and food packages. Whenever you buy grocery, food or any other item from any store, you will use plastic bags for carrying them.

Uses of Plastic

Plastics are widely used in:
  • Packaging industry
  • Construction industry
  • Disposable cutlery
  • Storage, etc.

The ease of use of plastic items has made plastic a great success.

Where does the Problem Lie?

The great problem with plastic is its disposal. Plastic is made of polymer chemicals and is not bio degradable. This means that plastic will not decompose when it is buried. When plastic is burnt it emits harmful chemicals. These chemicals have adverse effects on the environment. Hence, the need of recycling arises.

Recycling

Recycling means making new products out of the waste materials. All types of plastics cannot be recycled. If we recycle the ones that can be, the environment will be saved to some extent. Plastic recycling involves the process of recovering scrap plastic and this waste plastic is then reprocessed to form new materials that may be different from their original state. Compared to other materials like glass and metal, recycling of plastic is expensive and complex. This is due to the high molecular weight of the large polymer chains that build the plastic material. Heating plastic doesn't dissolve the polymer chains and hence a tedious and complex process is essential. Different types of plastic cannot be mixed together because they phase separate. Such a resulting melting product cannot be recycled to make another plastic product. While making plastic products many fillers like dues and other additives are used. These fillers cannot be separated from the plastic using inexpensive techniques. This makes the process more complex.

Advantages of Recycling

Recycling plastic has many advantages.

Use of non renewable fossil fuels is reduced by recycling as manufacturing new plastic materials require more of these fuels.
Consumption of energy is also reduced as already prepared plastic is recycled for new use.
Amount of plastic that reach the landfill sites are greatly reduced. This will eliminate land pollution to some extent.
Carbon emissions are reduced as manufacturing units emit more carbon.

Inverse Polymerization Process

The common process that is used for recycling polymers is the inverse polymerization process where the polymers in the plastic are converted into initial monomers that were used in the manufacture. These chemicals are then purified and synthesized to form new plastic materials. Assorted polymers are converted into petroleum in another process. The advantage of this process is that any mix of polymers can be used. A new process generates heat from the friction of plastic materials which melts the plastics. This is then pumped into casting molds. The great advantage of this technique is that all types of plastics can be recycled.

Basic Steps Involved in Recycling

The basic steps that are involved in the recycling of plastic are;

Step 1: Collecting plastic waste from households as well as industrial wastes as well.
Step 2: Sorting the plastic waste in different categories such as PET bottles, bags, containers, etc.
Step 3: The Plastic is cut into tiny pieces.
Step 4: The tiny pieces are thoroughly washed for any dirt or unwanted particles on them.
Step 5: The washed pieces are melted and poured into small containers for reuse.

To aid the process, plastics come with plastic identification code to identify the different polymers that are used in the manufacture of plastic. The process must be started from home. When you have utilized that plastic item for its use you can use the same item for something else. For example, if you buy a juice bottle you can use the plastic bottle as a storage container for reusing the pet bottle.
Posted: 2/25/20130 Entries
Four Plastics You Should Consider Recycling
By Global Enviromental Services
Connecticut residents looking to go green should strongly consider curbside
recycling as a way to help protect their local environment. Curbside recycling is a cheap way
to aid in the preservation of natural resources with minimal effort. Here are
several common misconceptions that residents have about recycling in Connecticut.
Rinse Containers Before Recycling
 
Commonly recycled food and drink containers such as soda cans, canned
vegetables, tomato sauce and others should be rinsed, removing all debris before placing the container in your recycling bin. Rinsing your glass, metal and plastic food containers will aid in keeping your bin free of bugs and unpleasant smells.
 
Determine Local Recycling Service Policies
 
Not every recycling service has the same policies as another town. In most
instances, communities that feature curbside recycling pick-up often have their
own unique policies. It is important to check with your local recycling service
to find out what is or is not on the approved item list. For communities that do
not feature curbside pick-up, but do have a recycling center, make sure you
understand what is or is not accepted before you take your recyclables to the
center. In addition, some collection services use single-stream recycling,
therefore, you do not need to separate paper, glass, plastic, or cardboard recyclables.
 
Recycling May Be Included In Your Local Taxes
 
Many people worry that recycling is an added expense to their monthly bills.
In fact, many cities and townships in Connecticut provide curbside recycling
services free of charge in conjunction with rubbish pick-up. Call your local
government services department to find out your cities' recycling policies.
 
Recycling Can Save Your Household And Business Money
 
For consumers, recycling can lead to long-term savings. Not only should you
recycle at home, but also regular use of recyclable containers when shopping can
help local stores keep costs down. In addition, some communities have collection
centers that will pay you for your recycled metal containers and packaging.
 
Key Takeaways:
  • Remember to rinse your recyclable containers before putting them in the
    bin.
  • Check with your local recycling center to understand their policies.
  • Check with your city about free pick-up.
  • Keep in mind that recycling saves you money, in the long run.

Need Help?

Do you want to start recycling at your home or business? Contact us today to
schedule your free consultation.

Posted: 2/23/20130 Entries
Seven Misconceptions about Plastic and Plastic Recycling
By Ecology Center

Seven Misconceptions about Plastic and Plastic Recycling


Misconception # 1: Plastics that go into a curbside recycling bin get recycled.
 
Not necessarily. Collecting plastic containers at curbside fosters the belief that, like aluminum and glass, the recovered material is converted into new containers. In fact, none of the recovered plastic containers from Berkeley are being made into containers again but into new secondary products such as textiles, parking lot bumpers, or plastic lumber – all unrecyclable products. This does not reduce the use of virgin materials in plastic packaging. "Recycled" in this case merely means "collected," not reprocessed or converted into useful products.

Misconception # 2: Curbside collection will reduce the amount of plastic landfilled.

Not necessarily. If establishing collection makes plastic packages seem more environmentally friendly, people may feel comfortable buying more. Curbside plastic collection programs, intended to reduce municipal plastic waste, might backfire if total use rises faster than collection. Since only a fraction of certain types of plastic could realistically be captured by a curbside program, the net impact of initiating curbside collection could be an increase in the amount of plastic landfilled. The Berkeley pilot program showed no reduction of plastic being sent to the landfill in the areas where the curbside collection was in operation. Furthermore, since most plastic reprocessing leads to secondary products that are not themselves recycled, this material is only temporarily diverted from landfills.

Misconception # 3: A chasing arrows symbol means a plastic container is recyclable.

The arrows are meaningless. Every plastic container is marked with the chasing arrows symbol. The only information in the symbol is the number inside the arrows, which indicates the general class of resin used to make the container. The attorneys general of 11 states objected to false and misleading claims about plastic recyclability. The recent settlement that they reached with the American Plastics Council paves the way for a first-ever definition of what claims can or cannot be made about plastic recycling and recyclability.

Misconception # 4: Packaging resins are made from petroleum refineries’ waste.

Plastic resins are made from non-renewable natural resources that could be used for a variety of other applications or conserved. Most packaging plastics are made from the same natural gas used in homes to heat water and cook.

Misconception # 5: Plastics recyclers pay to promote plastics’ recyclability.

No; virgin resin producers pay for the bulk of these ads. Most such ads are placed by virgin plastic manufacturers whose goal is to promote plastic sales. These advertisements are aimed at removing or diminishing virgin plastic’s greatest challenge to market expansion: negative public conception of plastic as unrecyclable, environmentally harmful, and a major component of wastes that must be landfilled or burned.

Misconception # 6: Using plastic containers conserves energy.
 
 When the equation includes the energy used to synthesize the plastic resin, making plastic containers uses as much energy as making glass containers from virgin materials, and much more than making glass containers from recycled materials. Using refillables is the most energy conservative.
 
Misconception # 7: Our choice is limited to recycling or wasting.
 
Source reduction is preferable for many types of plastic and isn’t difficult. Opportunities include using refillable containers, buying in bulk, buying things that don’t need much packaging, and buying things in recyclable and recycled packages

Plastic packaging has economic, health, and environmental costs and benefits. While offering advantages such as flexibility and light weight, it creates problems including: consumption of fossil resources; pollution; high energy use in manufacturing; accumulation of wasted plastic in the environment; and migration of polymers and additives into foods.

Plastic container producers do not use any recycled plastic in their packaging. Recycled content laws could reduce the use of virgin resin for packaging. Unfortunately, the virgin&endash;plastics industry has resisted such cooperation by strongly opposing recycled -content legislation, and has defeated or weakened consumer efforts to institute stronger laws. Plastic manufacturers recently decided that they will not add post consumer materials to their resins used in the USA.

There is a likelihood that establishing plastics collection might increase consumption by making plastic appear more ecologically friendly both to consumers and retailers. Collecting plastics at curbside could legitimize the production and marketing of packaging made from virgin plastic. Studies of garbage truck loads during the recent plastic pick-up pilot program showed no reduction of "recyclable" plastic containers being thrown away in the pilot areas (in fact, there was a slight increase). Due in part to increased plastic use, glass container plants around the country have been closing, including Anchor Glass Container Corporation in Antioch, putting 300 people out of work

Plastic recycling costs much and does little to achieve recycling goals. Our cost/benefit analysis for implementing curbside plastics collection in Berkeley shows that curbside collection of discarded plastics: involves expensive processing; has limited benefits in reducing environmental impacts; and has limited benefits in diverting resources from waste.

Processing used plastics often costs more than virgin plastic. As plastic producers increase production and reduce prices on virgin plastics, the markets for used plastic are diminishing. PET recyclers cannot compete with the virgin resin flooding the market.

Increasing the capture rates of glass, paper or yard debris in Berkeley could divert more resources from landfills than collecting plastics at curbside. The "recyclable" plastic to be collected in Berkeley at most would only amount to 0.3% of the waste stream.

Five Strategies to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Plastics

1. Reduce the use
Source reduction Retailers and consumers can select products that use little or no packaging. Select packaging materials that are recycled into new packaging - such as glass and paper. If people refuse plastic as a packaging material, the industry will decrease production for that purpose, and the associated problems such as energy use, pollution, and adverse health effects will diminish.

2. Reuse containers
Since refillable plastic containers can be reused about 25 times, container reuse can lead to a substantial reduction in the demand for disposable plastic, and reduced use of materials and energy, with the consequent reduced environmental impacts. Container designers will take into account the fate of the container beyond the point of sale and consider the service the container provides. "Design for service" differs sharply from "design for disposal".

3. Require producers to take back resins
Get plastic manufacturers directly involved with plastic disposal and closing the material loop, which can stimulate them to consider the product’s life cycle from cradle to grave. Make reprocessing easier by limiting the number of container types and shapes, using only one type of resin in each container, making collapsible containers, eliminating pigments, using water-dispersible adhesives for labels, and phasing out associated metals such as aluminum seals. Container and resin makers can help develop the reprocessing infrastructure by taking back plastic from consumers.

4. Legislatively require recycled content
Requiring that all containers be composed of a percentage of post-consumer material reduces the amount of virgin material consumed.

5. Standardize labeling and inform the public
The chasing arrows symbol on plastics is an example of an ambiguous and misleading label. Significantly different standardized labels for "recycled," "recyclable," and "made of plastic type X" must be developed.

 
 
Posted: 2/22/2013
Benefits of Recycling Plastic
By Sonia Nair
We all know that plastic is one of the most commonly used materials for recycling. This is due to various reasons and the main among them is the environmental pollution caused by this non-biodegradable material. Studies show that natural degradation of plastic takes around 100 to 1000 years. It is due to this reason and various other concerns, that the concept of recycling was developed. There are numerous benefits of recycling plastic.

What is Plastic Recycling

Plastic has emerged as one of the most widely used materials, across the globe. It is said that there are around 10,000 types of plastic that are used for manufacturing a whole lot of products, right from pet bottles, to kids' toys and even clothes. This resulted in a substantial increase in plastic waste dumped all over the world. Studies show that a major chunk of the global waste is composed of various kinds of plastic, that can cause a negative impact on the environment. So, plastic recycling was introduced, so as to produce new products from discarded plastic scrap and waste. In other words, such recycling can be defined as a procedure, which is used for reprocessing such waste into new products.

How is Plastic Recycling Beneficial

The process of recycling is basically aimed at environmental conservation. It is a common fact that recycling paper can save lots of trees that are used in manufacturing paper. Likewise, plastic being a major contributor of global waste, can cause serious environmental concerns. This is due to the non-degradable nature of plastic that makes it remain intact for a very long period. Plastic bottles, bags and other such products can be seen floating in the rivers, lakes and oceans. It can be said that such waste can be seen in almost all parts of the world with human inhabitation.
  • The first and foremost benefit of recycling plastic is for the conservation of petroleum, which is getting scarce. Large amount of petroleum is needed for making new plastic products and around 40% of the petroleum consumption can be reduced by recycling old ones to new products.
  • The benefits of recycling plastic include a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. In other words, greenhouse gases are emitted while burning petroleum and if the amount of petroleum used in making plastic is reduced through recycling, the emission of these gases will get lessened.
  • Even the landfill space can be saved through recycling. It is said that removal of one ton of plastic for recycling spares a landfill space of around 7.5 cubic yards.
  • One of the important environmental benefits of recycling plastic bags and bottles is that it saves animals, birds and a wide range of aquatic creatures from death due to ingestion of plastic. The chemicals in plastic can also pollute the soil as well as water.

It is said that recycling one ton of plastic results in saving the energy used by two humans in a year and the water required by a person for two months. It also saves around 2000 pounds of petroleum. Apart from that, various beneficial products are manufactured from recycled plastic. Some regions have come up with specific legislation, as per which, you may get paid to recycle. In short, plastic recycling is beneficial in all ways. So, stop throwing plastic and take efforts to promote its recycling.
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