We have been talking about plastic bag recycling for more than a few decades now. More recycling plants are set up each year and many local shops have dedicated bins for collecting plastic bags from their customers. Long story short, if you want to recycle plastic bags there is little to no hurdle that stands in your way.
Are Plastic Bags Recyclable?
Yes, they are. In fact, plastic bag recycling is much more energy efficient than recycling bags made from other materials such as paper or cotton.
How It All Works?
Most consumers never get the chance to see the workings of a plastic bag recycling plant. While the processes are really complex, here’s a brief rundown of how plastic bag recycling works at an industrial level.
Loading Dock to Store Plastic Bags: Plastic bags are brought into the plant and stored in an area called the loading dock. Here the plastic bags sorted by colour and stored temporarily before they are ready to be recycled.
Contaminant Separation: One of the major challenges of recycling plastic bags is to clean the contaminants. Plastic bags have surface contaminants ranging from food particles to metals. There are several stages and processes that go into removing these contaminants. The initial stage is manual separation where workers remove anything that’s not a plastic bag from the conveyer belt. Other processes include the use of magnets and a separation technique called floating to remove different types of contaminations.
Extrusion Process to Remove Dirt: Extrusion is the industrial name for melting the plastic bags and separating the dirt and grime.
Pellets Made from Melted Plastic: The pure melted plastic is then cooled and made into pellets of different sizes. These pellets are bought by plastic bag manufacturers from the recycling plants in order to make new shopping bags.
Now that you know the effort it takes to convert a used plastic bag into a new one, you might have a newfound respect for plastic bag recycling. This should encourage you to carry along reusable biodegradable bags more often and take steps to ensure your plastic waste ends up in a recycling plant.
Where to Recycle Plastic Bags?
With the intention of “saving the planet” a lot of people get stumped because they don’t know where to begin. The task of finding a recycling plant and dropping off plastic bags sounds too challenging, especially for a busy city dweller. In reality, dropping plastic bags at a recycling plant directly is neither necessary nor encouraged. These plastic bag recycling plants would much rather get plastic bags delivered by truckloads instead of having to deal with individuals dropping off measly loads.
Therefore, your job as a plastic bag user is to find a recycling bin nearest to your location. That job is made easy by many GPS-assisted apps that help you find the exact locations of these recycling bins. Simply download one of the many apps available and start discarding plastic bags the responsible way.