Rigid Plastic Recycling

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Rigid Plastic Recycling – Dealing with Chinas green fence

Rigid plastics have been a problematic material to recycle in the UK since China erected its ‘Green Fence’. Prior to this, most countries across the world had been producing low grade baled plastics in the hope that China will take on further sorting activities and end processing. There has been a realisation by China that a minimum of 25% of these imported plastics were only fit for landfill.

The Green Fence agreement, which was due to be removed in November 2013, shows no sign that China will ever again start importing low grade plastic waste. In fact, reports from officials within China Certification & Inspection Co Ltd have stated that heightened inspections of imported waste will continue indefinitely.

Plastic Expert’s dedicated account managers are helping companies across the UK cut their landfill costs whilst maximising the value from recycling rigid plastics. This is being done through mutual business relationships with companies in providing education for the sorting and baling of rigid plastic material.

Mixed Rigid Plastic Bales
Rigid Plastic Bales – ready for collection

Efficient and sustainable rigid plastic recycling

Plastic Expert utilises two separate routes for recycling mixed rigid plastics within The EU, and South-East Asia.

Both destinations are not governed by the Green Fence agreement, however there are other reasons why they will be sustainable for the foreseeable future and should be a utilised export option.

PVC, a polymer that for the last few years has drastically reduced the price of baled mixed rigid plastics because of its market value is being given increased attention in the EU, contrastingly in China the demand is diminishing. Although PVC recycling is also on the up, with 444,468 tonnes recycled last year, low grade material still commands a very low rebate when separated from other mixed rigid plastics.

The EU are due to conclude a mass review of its waste legislation, including combatting the large proportion of plastic waste going to land fill. This review is set to be finalised later this year.

Plastics going to Countries in South-East Asia, benefit from higher utilisation rates due to low income averages. A substantial percentage of mixed plastics being traded through these routes will evidentially be further sorted at specialist facilities in order to gain maximum value. China still possesses the most plastic factories dedicated to end-of-life processing therefore until the UK adapts it’s processing and sorting, most plastics will still be recycled into new products there.Aside from lesser-valued polymer types within mixed rigid plastic bales, there are other explanations for lower valued loads.

What makes a good rigid plastic bale?

There are certain polymer types that are more valuable than others (PE & PP for instance). Typically the better quality bales contain larger, colourful pieces of plastic scrap. Plastic Expert understands that this is not a mainstream practice, and offers FREE training in how to produce good quality MIXED rigid plastics.

More simply, the further you can sort materials, the higher their value. Although the recycling of plastics are from waste sources, companies are still selling a ‘product’, and there are ways of making this ‘product’ more attractive to your buyers.

Tips that can help increase the recyclability of mixed rigid plastics:

  • Minimise Dirt
  • Minimise Contamination
  • Minimise Small Pieces
  • Maximise Colour
  • DO NOT include other plastics (Bottles/LDPE etc)

Plastic Expert helps companies produce baled plastic waste that will not only generate income, but can be sold even when there are dips in demand within the market. Account managers are working with all sizes and types of waste management firms by providing cost a benefit analysis and transparent advice based on the current market. We endeavour to go further than any other, one quick call will back up this claim.

Call us TODAY to discuss rigid plastic recycling.

rigid plastic recycling
Mixed Rigid Plastic Bales – High Grade
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