Sunday, March 6, 2011

How is Plastic Recycled?

Author: Andrew Cheng

You took the first step by placing your plastic products into the recycling bin. Have you ever wondered what happens to all your recycling efforts? Will the coke bottle you recycled yesterday get turned into a t-shirt?

The recycling process is actually pretty long winded and complicated! It involves a lot of sorting, cleaning, and melting before it can be reused. Let's get started, shall we?

Most recycling centers use what is known as a single stream recycling system. That is, all recyclable goods including plastic, metal, glass, paper are collected all at once. These different types of recyclable goods must first get sorted.

Unlike recycling glass, metal, and paper which is pretty straight forward, plastics must be further sorted by plastic types (that is PP, PE, ABS, PET, etc…). This is because some plastic types cannot be melted with each other due to differing melting points and properties. If two plastic types are melted together, the resulting mixture is usually weak in structure and will solidify in layers (like oil and water). Therefore, mixed plastic types cannot be efficiently used for product manufacturing.

In fact, most recycling centers only take two types of plastic products, commonly type 1 PET plastic and type 2 HDPE plastic. The plastic numbers are usually found imprinted at the bottom of plastic products. This is the number inside the recycle symbol (three circulating arrows). Before sending any plastic to the recycling center, make sure you do a little research. If you send a recycling facility something they do not handle, it may end up in landfills.

Now that we have the plastic sorted by type, depending on the recycling facility, it may end up being further sorted by colors. Clear, natural, and white colored plastic is always the most desirable because it can be dyed to produce other colored plastics. For example, if you have a load of green plastics, it cannot be changed to blue. If you have a mixed colored lot, it usually gets dyed to produce black plastic products.

As the sorting process is very labor intensive, after the plastic is sorted by type, it is usually packaged and shipped to Asian countries for processing.

The plastic must now be washed to remove any residual sodas or juice. Let's follow how the common coke bottle is cleaned. While the coke bottle itself is made from PET (or PETE), the bottle cap and label is made from a different plastic type, PP or PE. Luckily, both PP and PE has densities less than 1 and will float in water. PET, when placed in water, will sink. When the bottle shreds are placed in a tank of water and mixed around, the plastic floating at the top is PP or PE and is manually removed. The bottom layer is PET and will move onto the next step.

While water takes care of partially cleaning the plastic, it must now be cleaned using a corrosive solution to remove any glues or chemicals. We now have a sorted and cleaned batch of plastic shreds which are placed in large dryers to remove moisture. At this time, the flakes are either sold or transported to another location for production into plastic pellets or nurdles (as pictured above).

Plastic pellets are the raw materials required for product manufacturing. One thing to note is that recycled plastics are never as versatile or "good" once it is reused. Recycled plastics are therefore usually "downcycled" into other products. That is, old milk bottles never get to make new ones, instead they are made into a different product all together such as toys.

Often times, recycled plastic is sold to manufacturers that mix recycled materials with virgin material to produce products. This way, they can ensure the finished product to be high in quality while saving (money) the environment.

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About the Author

I'm a plastic trader and processor and have more than 5 years experience working in the plastic recycling business in China.

Recently, I started a new blog, Recycled Plastic dot com, that covers my knowledge and experience in this field.

Recycled Plastic do com covers the latest news, stories, trends, products and resources relating to plastic and plastic recycling. It brings awareness to how plastic waste is endangering and poisoning our environment and steps we can take to reduce, reuse, and recycle. It aims to provide readers with an open forum for discussing these issues.

I hope you will enjoy what I have to write!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Firewood for the third world countries

Roots of common gourds could serve as cooking fuel in underdeveloped countries reducing the tree and shrub loss caused by gathering firewood.
Women in the third World spend one day per week scavenging scarce fuel adding to deforestation.
The taproots of gourds and squashes after being dried in the sun, burn more efficiently than wood. Women in Mexico, Senegal, and Niger tried the fuel and declared it highly flammable.
The plants grow in nutrient-poor soils but are inedible for the most part.
Tree Light

Tree Planting and Carbon dioxide.

The millions of trees planted as part of Earth Day activies will not seriously affect the global pollution for many years to come.
But it's worth the wait.
Each year a mature tree can consume as much as 50 pounds of carbon dioxide, one of the major contributors to the greenhouse effect.
Large sycamores and white mulberries are believed to reduce air pollution by nearly a third!
Prankster Tree Face by Forest Faces

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Recycling And Reusing Tissue Paper

Author: Kevin Thomas

Our top tips on packaging series continues with helpful hints on reusing your tissue and paper packaging.

3 reasons to reuse your tissue paper and paper packaging

1) As pressure on the environment and the need for the nation to economise grows, it’s now critical to conserve and reuse packaging.

2) Reusing packaging is the best form of recycling, because it doesn’t require further use of energy, either in converting or transporting the packaging prior to use. It simply extends the life of your paper packaging.

3) Thinking ahead to how your customer receives their parcel or gift, reducing unnecessary packaging and making it easy for the customer to reuse their tissue paper, or other paper packaging, could have a positive impact on your environmental credentials

“As a specialist packaging supplies company we believe we have a duty to encourage Customers to give greater thought to the packaging they buy and make better use of the packaging materials they retain.”

How to reuse your tissue and other paper gift packaging

  • Initially, avoid contact with self adhesive tape where possible, as this will tear the tissue paper
  • Ideally wrap or fold tissue paper around the item and place within a cardboard box without sticking the tissue paper together. Elastic bands, string or ribbon can be used instead of adhesive packaging tape to encourage reuse of paper packaging
  • When unpacking items wrapped in tissue paper, try to avoid ripping the paper and flatten sheets where possible
  • Like wrapping paper and other forms of gift packaging, tissue paper can be reused if it is in good condition
  • If the tissue paper has become creased or ripped, you could scrunch it up loosely to fill voids and provide cushioning protection within boxes
  • Alternatively, tissue paper and other gift wrap can be shredded to make attractive gift packaging and paper loose fill

Once your tissue paper or other paper gift packaging is no longer usable, it can be recycled along with other waste paper.

Alternatively, you may wish to pass on used, clean paper packaging to schools for art projects. Many schools and nurseries might buy cheap tissue paper online or direct from UK packaging suppliers, and if you can pass your packaging on it might save your local school money and also help to conserve energy and natural resources.

For more information about buying tissue paper, gift wrap and other paper packaging, why not visit the Davpack online packaging superstore, or call 01332 821 200 and speak to one of our packaging experts…....we can even give you tips on reusing or saving on packaging materials.

About the Author:

Kevin Thomas works for Davpack, a uk packaging supplier. Their friendly staff are waiting to help you choose the right packaging for your business.
Garbage and Recycling

Text and content © Copyright of Davenport Paper Co. Ltd 2009

Article Source: - Recycling And Reusing Tissue Paper

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Recycling Your Computer After Its Life is Over

Author: A Nutt

Your computer has died, and there is no hope for its resurrection. You have already replaced it, but now what do you do? What options are there for disposing of your old computer in a safe and environmentally friendly way? The answer is computer recycling.

Why Recycling Computers Is Important

Computers and other consumer electronics items make up around two percent of all of the materials in today's landfills. We already know that recycling in general is important, as the landfills are not getting any smaller, but recycling computers and monitors is especially important. These items contain lead and toxic metals that can cause serious damage to the environment, particularly if they end up in the water supply.

Additionally, your computer contains personal information that you may not know how to completely remove. You do not want a computer guru finding it in the dumpster and taking your personal information off of it. This can lead to identity theft and a lifetime of problems.

Advantages of Recycling Your Computer

Recycling your computer responsibly carries many benefits. First, by working with a responsible recycler, you are ensured that your personal information is completely removed from the machine. This will protect you from dumpster divers who are just waiting to find a hard drive to tap into.

Another benefit of recycling your computer is the fact that you will be doing your part to protect the environment. You will be keeping the toxins that are in your computer out of the landfills and away from the water supply. Additionally, the precious metals and other materials used in these electronics must be mined, which takes a tremendous toll on the environment. By recycling your computer, you ensure that these precious materials are reused, reducing the amount that must be removed from the earth through costly mining efforts.

In many cases a recycled computer can actually be put to use again. Even if a major part of your computer is broken, there are other components that can be used to rebuild other computers. This can provide an affordable computer for an individual or organization that otherwise would not be able to access one. Often these computers are donated to charitable organizations, so in this way you could be helping the community simply by recycling your broken computer. When you choose a recycling center, choose one that works closely with a charitable organization.

How Computer Recycling Works

The first step in a responsible computer recycling program is wiping all information off of the computer's hard drive. This ensures that your finances and personal information are protected. Then, the recycling program should look at the machine to see if there are any usable components. These are harvested to be used to build new machines. Any non-usable parts are broken down into their basic components, such as metal or plastic, and further processed.

The recycling center will then take these basic components and organize them according to the type they are. These parts will then be sent to a smelting facility to be turned into tiny pieces and melted to be made into other things. For instance, plastic can be melted and used again in another computer or for a completely different plastic item. As part of this process, the precious metals that are in circuit boards are extracted for reuse. This keeps them out of the environment.

Today, only 18 percent of all computers and other consumer electronics that have reached the end of their lives are recycled. This means that 1.84 million tons of this type of waste ends up in the landfills. By recycling your old computer, you can ensure that you do not add to this sad statistic.

About the Author:
Renting computers is the best option in any business, event, and trade show needs. Offering computer, laptop rental and projector rental.

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Garbage and Recycling
What Happens At A Recycling Center?

Recycling Defined

Author: Joey Pebble

The term recycling refers to the processing of used manufactured products in such a way that the materials are turned into new products, ready to be re-used. Most materials can be recycled, although harder substances may cost more to process, making their re-use inefficient. Paper, plastic, glass, tin, and many textiles are all relatively easy to process for recycling. Despite the similarity in purpose and process, when organic materials such as foods and plants are re-used the process is known as composting rather than recycling.

Recycling is done for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is to reduce the amount of natural resources which are consumed for new products. It is also done to save energy, prevent water and air pollution, and to prevent the build up of garbage and the proliferation of landfills.

If recycling were a perfectly efficient process you would be able to take old wasted products, and convert them into the same amount of the same product, only unused. However, there is an energy expenditure that is used when processing recycled materials, which can drive up the cost of manufacturing certain goods. That is why high end materials such as paper and pencils are often turned into lower grade recycled materials such as cardboard.

Salvage is another form of recycling, in which valuable substances or components of a used product are reclaimed without actually reusing the rest of the product. This is done with the lead found in batteries, as well as the gold parts that are found in computer chips.

While recycling is considered to be a method for reducing waste and preserving the health of the natural world, opponents claim that it is actually a wasteful process that uses up more resources than it produces. These criticisms are often specifically targeted at state mandated recycling initiative. However, even if the cost of production is higher it may be justified due to the cost of maintaining the product in a landfill after it is used.

About the Author:

This article was written by Joey Pebble, one of the artists who produces natural stone home d├ęcor products for – These products are all produced from real pieces of the natural earth, quarried, cut and refined into a series of elegant and sophisticated home accessories.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

83% Believe Retailers Should Stop Giving Away Free Plastic Bags

Author: Chris Amos

4 out of 5 Britons believe supermarkets should stop giving away free plastic bags according to a new poll.

Following last week’s move by The Welsh Assembly Government aiming to introduce a ban on free plastic bags, over 70% of the general public want the Government to impose a charge on plastic bags given by retailers to encourage shoppers to switch to reusable ones instead.

A hefty 69% believe the current promise by retailers to reduce the number of bags given away by 50% by the end of spring 2010 is not enough.

82% of people believe a 10p-15p charge on plastic bags would encourage consumers to change to reusable bags while 92% are concerned with the impact the current plastic bags available from retailers have on our environment.

The Welsh Assembly Environment Minister Jane Davidson has asked officials to start work on the necessary legislation to introduce a ban on giving away free plastic bans.

“When we look at other countries in the world we understand why countries from Italy to Australia are now imposing charges and even banning plastic bags,” she said. “That experience around the world has told us that the most effective way to meet our aspirations on plastic bags is with regulations.”

Chris Amos from eco-bags company, Reusabags said:

“Support for a ban on giving away plastic bags is now greater than ever. Many governments around the world including China and France are introducing policy to cut giving away free plastic bags. 12-months ago, Gordon Brown demanded a reduction of plastic bags, so for our future and the sake of our planet, the use of reusable bags should be embraced and encouraged now.”

About the Author:

London based eco-friendly writer

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Lone Wolf Tapestry Tote Bag