Whether you’ve been recycling plastic for years or your company is just beginning to implement a plastic recycling program, here are some best practices we’ve developed for optimizing industrial plastic recycling:
(1) Sort by type and value – As we mentioned earlier, plastic must be recycled by chemical composition or resin. While some recycling companies offer various commingled collection options, commingling your recyclables reduces their value and can affect any rebates your might receive. Because space can be a factor limiting your sorting options, it is best to work with your recycling service provider to identify what quantity of plastic types your company produces and which plastics will be worth the most money when collected separately.
(2) Source separate as much as possible – Source separating means collecting a specific type of recyclable directly at the location where that item becomes waste. For instance, if your manufacturing facility has a packaging line that produces a certain type of plastic waste, source separating would mean collecting that plastic material at the packaging line. Source separating is a great way to keep valuable recyclables separate from less valuable items without having to implement an addition sorting process (saving you time and resources).
(3) Remove contamination – While it is not always possible to rinse and wipe clean every piece of plastic waste, taking time to remove as much contamination as possible can help increase the value of your plastic recycling streams. Taking this extra step to increase the quality of your plastic recyclables will also go a long way towards improving relationships with your recycling service provider, as recycling contamination can prove both costly and harmful to recycling workers and equipment.
(4) Invest in a baler – One great thing about plastic for end us applications is that it is very light weight. This is great for usage but not for recycling and minimizing transportation costs. Recycling rebates are often based on weight, and industrial plastic recycling materials usually are not in their most dense form. This means that when you collect plastic for recycling, you collect a lot of air. Do you really want to pay transportation and recycling costs for a trailer load of air? If not, you should consider investing in equipment, like a baler, which will compact your recyclables prior to transportation. For instance, at iSustain recycling, we like to use vertical balers. When used to bale plastic film, this baler compresses the film into a dense, 60″ x 30″ x 48″ size bale, which weighs about 800 pounds. If you wanted to recycle the same poundage of plastic film without using a baler, this material would require multiple bags, or over 10 Gaylords. That is a lot of extra space & air one has to transport and handle. Companies save thousands of dollars by baling their recyclables rather than paying to transport loose materials. Consider how much money your company could save in transportation costs by baling your plastic.
These are just a few best practices for industrial plastic recycling. For more ideas on how to optimize your company’s waste and recycling program, contact us today. [email protected]