Acrylic plastic is widely used across a number of industries and, as a result, there is a considerable amount of post-consumer acrylic clogging up landfill sites across the UK. Committed to diverting plastics from incinerators and landfills, Plastic Expert offers ethical and cost-effective acrylic recycling services to businesses across the country.
What is Acrylic?
Acrylic comes in many forms and it can be used for various purposes. Technically, any material which contains acrylic acid can be termed ‘acrylic’, but its most popular form is polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA.
PMMA is a rigid, multi-purpose plastic which is often used as a replacement for glass. Sold under various brand names, including Perspex, Plexiglass, and Crystallite, PMMA is used in signage, displays, and casings. Its impact-resistant, lightweight and weather-resistant features make it a popular alternative to glass, and it is regularly used in zoo enclosures, aircraft canopies, aquarium windows, and safety equipment.
An alternative form of acrylic, known as acrylic resin, is also widely used in the manufacturing process of mobile phones, televisions, and furniture. When emulsified, acrylic resin is known as polymethyl acrylate (PMA) and it can be found in textiles and lacquer, as well as in adhesives.
When combined with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), an alloy or composite material is formed. Considered to have the beneficial properties of both acrylic and PVC, thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride alloys can be used to fabricate housings, casings, medical equipment and even as a leather substitute.
With so many varied uses, acrylic is widely used in manufacturing. In fact, most businesses either produce or use acrylic in one form or another. With such widespread application, you might think that acrylic is routinely recycled and repurposed, but this isn’t always the case.
Can you Recycle Acrylics?
Although acrylic can be recycled, it requires specialist handling and equipment. At Plastic Expert, we are proud to be one of the few specialist centres in the UK offering acrylic recycling.
Designated as a Group 7 plastic, many recycling companies do not have the facilities or expertise to recycle acrylics. Due to this, acrylic is one of the least recycled types of plastic, which means it is having a devastating impact on our environment.
While companies and manufacturers may be keen to recycle acrylics, the limited availability of effective and ethical acrylic recycling facilities has prevented many organizations from doing so. With Plastic Expert, however, businesses across the UK can benefit from a dedicated acrylic recycling service.
Whether you are a producer of PMMA sheets, a regular user of thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride alloys or a manufacturer who relies on PMA to produce goods, Plastic Expert can work with you and provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly service.
How is Acrylic Recycled?
Acrylic isn’t easy to recycle, but we don’t let that stop us! Using state-of-the-art equipment and industry expertise, our technicians use various methods to ensure acrylic can be safely recycled.
The most common form of acrylic, PMMA, is particularly difficult to recycle due to the toxins it contains. If standard waste management methods or recycling processes were used, there is a risk that PMMA would combust and/or release potentially harmful fumes. At Plastic Expert, we have developed our acrylic recycling services to ensure there is a safe and viable method of acrylic and PVC recycling in the UK.
Using a process known as pyrolysis, we heat PMMA materials in the absence of oxygen to ensure the material can decompose safely. Typically carried out at heats exceeding 430C (800F), materials are placed under extreme pressure during pyrolysis, which ensures their chemical composition and physical structure is altered.
Advanced equipment, known as pyrolysis reactors, is used to carry out acrylic recycling safely and our team of expert technicians is on hand to oversee the process.
What are the benefits of acrylic recycling?
Acrylic isn’t biodegradable; therefore, it won’t naturally decompose over time and it can potentially cause significant harm to the environment.
By recycling acrylic materials, manufacturers and businesses can drastically reduce the negative impact of these materials and by doing so they can also greatly reduce their own carbon footprint.
Furthermore, the financial incentive for increased eco-friendly activity, combined with the positive PR businesses can gain from embracing new recycling methods, makes acrylic recycling an obvious choice for any organization.
Whether you are a producer of PMMA and you are looking to find a suitable recycling option for your waste material or you are a manufacturer who regularly uses acrylics in product production, we at Plastic Expert can provide a safe, reliable and eco-friendly acrylic recycling service.
Committed to finding new and innovative ways to increase acrylic recycling methodologies, we are bringing new and exciting processes to the forefront of the recycling industry to give businesses in the UK access to ethical and responsible recycling services.