Recycling materials is one of the most focused on projects in the plastics industry to date. Finding ways to take post-consumer waste and bring it back to life is something that is critical to the health of our environment over the long term. In addition, being able to reuse materials saves time and money for companies who are involved in production.
One of the most pressing needs in the plastics industry is a way to deal with plastic films. Known as 2D 1-7 products, those that are two dimensional films from polymers one through seven, these films can decrease the value of other recycled materials when they are combined together. Sorting through paper products to remove polymer films can be tedious and can drive up the costs of recycling. To date, most of this sorting has been done by hand or via infrared scanners.
A new technology is now adding the next level to the sorting process. Tested by a recycling plant, there is new automatic technology that can sort the plastic film from paper products. In a follow up sorting process, the remaining plastic film is sorted into two categories – PE film and everything else.
Once the PE film is sorted from the other types of films it can be used for new products. In fact, many of today’s trash bags are now being created from recycled plastic film products at a rate of up to 80%. Packing products are also another option that can take advantage of the PE film that is being recycled.
Some of the newest sorting machinery not only identifies what is PE and what is not, but it can bale it to make it easier to move to a manufacturing plant where it can be reused. Optical sorting equipment can now even detect the difference between HDPE and LDPE products.
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