The world makes and consumes about 600 billion pounds of plastic yearly, and the market is still growing by about 5% a year. Regardless of the industry you’re in, all businesses produce some sort of waste, and chances are, much of this waste can be recycled. Whether you’re investing in plastic storage containers, wholesale plastic water bottles, plastic barrels, or other types of plastic drums, disposing of them properly is a moral obligation for all responsible business owners. Fortunately, some materials are easier to recycle than others, and if you deal in HDPE plastics, then you have your work cut out for you.
Here’s what your business needs to know about the HDPE recycling process.
What is HDPE?
HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is present in countless plastic products used daily by both individuals and businesses. Bottles and containers comprise 38% of all HDPE products, and you likely have a few HDPE products in your home right now. Fortunately, HDPE is accepted at most recycling centers in the United States, which makes it among the easiest materials to recycle. The majority of recycling companies will simply collect HDPE products and transport them to larger facilities to be sorted and processed for reuse.
How does HDPE get recycled?
HDPE recycling has many similar components to those of other recycling processes, but its qualities allow the process to be optimized. The process starts like most recycling processes — with sorting and cleaning of the materials. Then, the plastic is homogenized so that only the HDPE will be processed. Having other polymers present in the end product can ruin the entire batch.
However, since HDPE has a lower density than PET (polyethylene terephthalate), it can be sorted and separated from polymers using a sink-float technique in which the materials with lower densities rise to the top of a liquid solution. However, some polymers have density levels that are too similar to HDPE, which renders the sink-float technique ineffective. In these cases, an alternative sorting solution is used, called NIR (Near Infrared Radiation). This technique can be used whenever the materials are not too dark — otherwise, they’ll absorb the infrared waves.
After being sorted, the HDPE is shredded and melted to refine the product even further. Once it’s cooled, it’s formed into pellets. These pellets are then widely used in manufacturing and industrial applications.
Ultimately, understanding the HDPE recycling process is the key to making your business as eco-conscious as possible. For more information about plastic storage units for sale, contact Best Containers.