how are plastic bottles recycled



  1. 0 Votes
    1. After bottles are collected, they are taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF) where they are condensed into large bales for shipping. Each bale weighs 800 to 1,200 pounds and can contain anywhere from 6,400 to 9,600 beverage, food and/or non-food bottles.
    2. Bales are shipped to a plastics reclaimer where a machine called a bale breaker rips apart the bales. The bottles and containers are then optically sorted by resin and sometimes color. The pieces then go through a machine where they are shredded into tiny flakes “like paper in a paper shredder,” according to Tom Lauria, vice president of the International Bottled Water Association.
    3. The flakes are then washed, dried and melted.
    4. The melted plastic is extruded into pellets which are sold to end markets and can be made into various plastic products. From here, the “possibilities are endless,” Lauria says.
    5. In many PET applications the plastic is often spun into a very fine, thread-like material through a process paralleling the spinning of cotton candy. This can be used to make carpets, clothing or filling for jackets and quilts. The thin plastic has good insulation properties. For plastics such as HPDE, PP or other resins, the pellets are melted and extruded into plastic lumber or pipe, and can be further blowmolded into plastic bottles, or injection molded or thermoformed into plastic containers, garden products, sheet and packaging.
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