How to Deal with Plastic Waste?

How much plastic is there?

As a planet, we produce approximately 30 billion tons of plastic each year, producing almost 10% of the world’s crude oil use. The United Nations Plastics Disclosure Project estimates that 33% of all manufactured plastic is used only once.

While most plastics end up in landfills and incinerators, uncollected waste accounts for 22% of all plastic waste – 80,000 tonnes of which end up in our oceans every year. For visual context, imagine a garbage truck of the size of New York City, hauling it into the ocean every minute of every day for an entire year.

What can be done

It is estimated that plastic products can be used for up to 500 years without decomposing, and according to the OECD, only 9% of plastics are recycled each year. That’s a pittance compared to other recyclable materials such as glass (25%), metal (35%) and paper (65%). About half of all plastics end up in landfills, but there are undoubtedly better alternatives.

Incineration

Burning plastic waste and using the resulting energy appears to be an alternative to dumping. It reduces the amount of waste going into landfills and oceans, and the heat generated can produce steam for household electricity as an alternative to virgin fossil fuels. However, about 10-15% of the total mass of burned plastic turns into toxic ash that is released into the air we breathe. Recycling granulation

Recycling granulation

Recycling granulation is a method of physically recycling plastic waste. Most recyclable plastics are mechanically broken down into pellets and remanufactured into new plastic products such as packaging, seating or clothing. However, the recycled pelleting method has limitations, and the process is not suitable for plastic films, pouches and other laminated plastics, which are often sent to landfill or incinerated.

Chemical Recycling

While burning plastic waste is technically a chemical conversion, new developments have found ways to recover more than just heat.

Catalytic and pyrolytic chemical recycling can break down the long polymer chains of plastics into monomers (the individual units that form polymers) and fully recycle these into new polymers or other chemicals. This is different from melting plastic into pellets and reshaping them into usable products. Reforming polymers at the molecular level allows impurities to be ignored, and the process yields high-quality products time and time again.

Want to learn more about plastic recycling from us?

KITECH is a globally active machinery corporation, specialized in developing plastics recycling machines and system components, devoted to creating our equipment with a high level of innovation, durability, and operational reliability. Over 25 years of knowledge and experience help us to contribute actively to the success of our customers by offering sustainable solutions that meet industry needs.For more information about plastic recycling, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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