Since the 1970s, scientists have been working to combat increasing pollution and innovate ways to dispose of plastic. There are more than 60 million water bottles in the garbage in the US, and estimated it could take 700 years for one bottle to break down by biodegrading.
Moreover, when the plastic burns or is disposed of, it spreads harmful chemicals pollute water and the air. These chemicals are hazardous for humans, plants, and animals.
The most effective solution for this problem is to recycle plastic bottles and transform them into something reusable. Such as clothes, furniture, toys, fences, bags, containers, etc. However, recycling is not that straightforward. If performed carelessly or without proper equipment and resources, it will lead to more damaging and harmful outcomes.
Therefore, firms need to invest in machines that play a significant role, such as the shredder, grinder, and air pressure booster, to name a few.
The Process of Recycling Plastic
The process of recycling a PET bottle involves multiple steps that need to be performed with utmost care. Firstly, the workers for the recycling firm need to gather all the bottles in one place. This sounds like an easy task, but collecting all the bottles from homes, industries, offices, and other areas takes a while.
Secondly, the bottles are filtered out to remove other elements like metal, glass, or rubber. Then the bottles are separated based on the type of plastic they are made of. After that, the bottles are washed properly to remove food, liquid, or any other chemical residue.
Next, all the plastic from bottles is torn and shredded into flakes. These flakes are then melted and transformed into small pallets. These pallets are of the size of a grain of rice. Lastly, these pallets are packed and shipped to factories where they are melted down to make different products like toys, bags, clothes, tools, etc.
Numerous challenges may arrive while recycling plastic. One of them is the separation of different types of plastics. Not all plastic is the same, and they have different properties and different reactions. Melting them together result in leads to phase separation, which creates layers in them. These layers further result in structural weakness in the final product or products.
Consequences Of Improper Recycling
In 2008, the overall post-consumer plastic in the US was estimated to be 33.6 million tons. 2.2 million tons (6.5%) or which was recycled correctly. 2.6 million tons (7.7%) were burned, while 28.9 million tons, or 85.5%, were of no use and were discarded in landfills. An alarmingly massive amount of plastic is discarded and buried into the landfill every year.
This leads to soil deterioration, water contamination and can levy a very negative impact on the wildlife around the landfills.
Due to these reasons, the plastic obtained after recycling is unnecessary and eventually goes to waste. Therefore it is crucial to use suitable methods and technically able machinery to recycle plastic properly.