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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.
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