It’s a sad truth that there’s too much waste in the world today. Most of the municipal solid waste produced ends up in landfills. The world produces around 400 million tons of plastic waste every year.
These numbers should be more than enough to shock anyone into recycling. It’s unfortunate that people still don’t understand how crucial this practice is. It’s vital if we want to protect our world. Statistics showed that the US produced 40 million tons of plastic waste in 2021. But only two million tons were then recycled.
Recycling refers to the collection of waste materials. These are then transformed into new products. For example, tin cans become bicycle parts. Plastic beverage bottles are then recycled and turned into carpets.
Turning waste into useful products benefits everyone. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps us save our dwindling resources.
There are different types of recycling. This post aims to help you understand the process. It could help reinforce the importance of recycling and encourage you to do your part.
This is the most basic form of recycling. The recyclable item is often reused. No changes were even made to its state. They’re used in the same way they’re made for. For example, donated preloved toys are then given to someone else to use. A wine bottle will become used to store water.
Secondary Recycling or Repurposing
This type of recycling entails repurposing an item. There will be some changes to its form and it will become reused in a different way. For example, egg cartons can become seedling trays. They can also become soundproofing.
Many people also call this type of recycling upcycling. You take a used or old item and improve on it. Reclaimed wood can be then made into furniture. Old jeans or shirts are then upcycled into bags or carpets. The original product changes. But it doesn’t go through a long reprocessing.
This is one of the most common recycling methods used around the world. The original product becomes transformed into a new material. This is how we recycle plastics, glass, and rubber. This method is often used for PE and PP plastics as well.
The process of mechanical recycling entails the use of different processes. For example, plastic waste undergoes washing and grinding. Then it undergoes separating, drying, and re-granulating processes. The polymers of the plastic are not affected by the process. They are then used again as the same product or a new one. A plastic bottle can become a hose or a floor tile.
Energy recycling is a method used to change plastic waste into energy. This can be either electric or thermal energy. This type of recycling is all done via leveraging. The waste goes through an incinerator. It creates heat that’s released in the form of fuel. This process only needs a little space. It can help expand the energetic matrix.
Energy recycling is also a boon in populated cities since it doesn’t need much space. It’s expensive though. Few countries can sustain this recycling method. It needs a lot of investment and government engagement. Many European countries have embraced energy recycling. Japan uses this method as well.
Energy recycling is also safe for the environment. The incineration plants have catalyzers. These help prevent emissions during the recycling process. One expert noted that energy recycling was always looked down upon during the ’70s and ’80s. It’s because the emissions had an adverse impact on the environment. But the incineration equipment has changed now. The more advanced ones are now friendlier to the environment.
This is a new type of recycling process. This technology promises to return any processed material back. It will revert to its raw and high-quality state. The process is an umbrella term for various recycling processes. The methods used are similar. But they differ in how the polymers are then broken down.
Junk Gone in a Hurry
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