Mixed Rigid Plastic Recycling
Mixed Rigid Recycling differs to other types of recycling, like LDPE, HDPE and uPVC, in that it is a mixture of several different plastics. The benefit of baling mixed plastics together is that some recycling markets, are happy to buy them in this format as it can offer them better value.
In recent years, China introduced a new law called the ‘Green Fence’, which meant that they could only import a higher quality of plastics, after it was found that as much as 25% of imported plastic was only fit for the landfill.
This increase in demand for a higher quality of plastics from around the world meant that thousands of businesses had to change their sorting and baling processes. Now, contaminated or dirty plastics must be washed or prepared for baling or face rejection. This only applies to China. Many businesses are still able to export mixed rigids for recycling, with the material going to recycling routes in the EU or to south-east Asia.
To make a bale of mixed rigid plastics, you need a baler or compactor, but you also need to consider the following:
The cleanliness or amount of contamination of the plastic. It's important the material is free from lots of dirt, mud and other vegetation. In addition, ensure that there is no oil, paint or other hazardous liquids running from canisters.
The size of the pieces of plastic. Generally speaking the pieces of recycled plastic should be at least 30cm squared. Separation processes are extremely difficult if smaller pieces are put into a bale.
Percentage of HDPE and PP as these attract higher values. This is an IMPORTANT point! HDPE & PP plastic is the polymer type which is in most demand worldwide. It's made from oil and can be recycled many times over, values are usually higher than other plastic types which allows the maximum rebate payable to our suppliers.
Bale weight. Mill size bales should weigh 300-450kg, they must be wire tied and secure for loading and unloading into a container or curtain sider vehicle. Non mill size bales will have a lower rebate value due to their lower weight.
Polymer Prices follow world market trends such as oil prices, supply and demand, virgin polymer prices, manufacturing requirements, seasonal variation (such as Christmas and Chinese New Year). Good quality material will sell in almost any market conditions, when the market is down the lower grade materials are the first to become 'unsellable'.
Transportation costs are dependant on the location of the material. Export routes tend to be on the East Coast of the UK so haulage rates are higher for towns and cities situated further West.
Do not include:
Soft plastic film (like plastic bags)
PVC pipes and window frames
PET plastic bottles
Containers with residue like glue or paint
Small broken pieces
Other waste, like metal or wood
Those are the bad things which are likely to stop your bale from being taken away for recycling.
The good things to include are:
Domestic bins and wheelie bins (wheels removed)
Road barriers and traffic cones
Boxes, crates, buckets, containers
Garden furniture, water butts, recycling boxes
Visit this guide for more information on getting involved in Mixed Rigid Recycling