Serving the UK & IE plastics industry

Recycling Plastic

Which plastic materials can be recycled?

PlastikCity is designed for use by the plastics sector, so we will concentrate on recycling at the industrial level. This involves unwanted or scrap plastic items being converted back into useable feedstock. It does not involve the collection and processing of household waste.

Manufacturers’ waste
This will be mainly offcuts (perhaps from thermoforming) and scrap components generated by plastic processing companies. They need to be pre-sorted, clean and free from items such as metal fasteners.

Post-industrial items
For example, companies may buy raw materials in non-returnable plastic containers.

Redundant stocks
Examples would be products that have been replaced or upgraded, or surplus stock that needs to be removed to free up warehousing space.

Damaged items
A good example would be damaged wheelie bins collected by a local authority, supermarket crates or gas/water piping.

General post-consumer items
Coat hangers, fridge plastics, cable reels, CD cases, seed trays, automotive parts such as car bumpers.

Common material grades that are recycled
ABS • EPS • HDPE • LDPE • PA (Nylon) • PC • PC/ABS • PET • PETG • PMMA • PP • PS • PVC

What happens during the plastic recycling process?

Depending on the quality of the bought-in material, it may need to be sorted by polymer type, screened for metal contaminants and washed. If scrap products are pre-sorted by grade and colour, this is far more attractive to both the reprocessor and the end-user.

What types of recycled materials are available?

There are three common ways that material is processed so that it can be reused.

  1. Jazz Flake is the most basic grade of reprocessed material, consisting of granulated material of mixed colour and varying size. To granulate material, it is passed through a granulator that chops it into flakes, which must be of a minimum size to pass through a grading mesh. Jazz flake is sometimes available in grades particularly suitable for injection moulding, extrusion, etc.
    Companies that buy and use this product either have no cosmetic or structural strength requirements. It is usually possible to add a cheap black colouring agent at the point of manufacture to provide better colour consistency.
  2. Regrind is typically uniform in colour and has tighter control of polymer grade content. It may also be de-dusted, meaning that there is a more uniform size of flake. More often than not, the material has not been previously coloured, so it is in its natural state.
  3. Recompounded material involves taking waste plastic that is uniform in terms of colour and grade, granulating it and then turning it back into pellet form. Material flake is passed through an extruder and pelletising line. The finished pellets are indistinguishable from virgin material.

It is common practice to blend the recycled content with virgin material to achieve a more uniform specification (for example, MFI range). An exact colour can be specified by quoting a RAL number or other similar industry nomenclature. Other common additives include UV and heat stabilisers, lubricants to aid processing, or anti-static agents.

How can I buy recycled plastic material?

To source any of the above grades, visit our ‘Buy Recycled Material’ section.

How can I sell my unwanted plastic scrap?

Providing quantities are sufficient, companies such as those listed in the PlastikCity category for Sell Your Scrap Plastic will tender for your stock. Depending on your location, collections are sometimes available. If you are generating waste product continuously, suitable stillages may be provided for you to fill.

If you are a plastic processing company, PlastikCity also has companies that offer a Toll Granulation service, meaning they can collect your scrap product, reprocess it, and then return it to you in a useable form.

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