What are these?
Petrochemical products are chemical products derived from petroleum, or more specifically from ethane, propane, butane and other hydrocarbons extracted from crude oils and natural gas liquids.
Petrochemicals are used in the manufacturing of many everyday products such as plastic, medical devices, furniture, cosmetics, etc. The viewing device you are using to view this page is also made from petrochemicals.
A large percentage of our modern living involves plastic. Plastic recycling is an important element of any recycling efforts. Unlike paper recycling, the recycling of plastic is harder and more complicated.
WHY RECYCLE PLASTIC?
Most plastics are made from natural gas or some other kind of petrochemical products – the more plastics are used, the more petroleum products are needed which is not environmental sustainable. Plastics are considered inexpensive, durable and versatile recyclables which can be readily molded into a variety of products. Businesses can reduce the costs associated with waste management by zeroing in on the benefits of recycling their plastic products.
It is estimated that around 4% of the world’s oil and gas production, which is a non-renewable resource, is used for plastics and a further 4% to provide energy for their manufacturing. A big portion of plastics produced in the world is used to make disposable items of packaging or short-lived products that are easily discarded. This is unsustainability as substantial quantities of discarded plastics are accumulated as debris or rubbish in and fills and the environment.
Recycling does not cause harm to the quality of plastics.
The most common type of plastic is plastic bottles, used for storing mineral water or soft drinks. These bottle cannot be refilled. As such, the best way to use back his plastic is through recycling. Manufacturing recycled plastics uses only 30% of the energy required for making ‘original’ plastic from fuels.
What is the process like
Plastics are segregated before the actual recycling is done.
The Malaysia Government has taken some stringent actions to recycle plastic resins. Different plastic making industries make use of recycled plastic resins as their basic raw materials as they save a lot of costs and reduce environment pollution.
The plastic scrap recycling process starts from the classification of the plastic scrap by density. After that, the plastic is cut into small flakes and melted at high temperature to be molded, pelletized and packed in amounts according to clients’ requirements.
What Do Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean?
In plastic recycling techniques, companies mark their plastic with a secret and separate recycling symbol or code so that they can specify the type of plastic the items are made of and how it can be reused. The Government has also established varied industrial units for recycling plastic resins so that the same recycling codes for various kind of plastic items are the same throughout the country. Each has a distinct identification number.
There are a total of 7 numbers that are assigned to plastics to identify the types of plastic resin used in the materials. These numbers, also known as resin identification code, are used to sort plastics during the recycling process.
- PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is one type of plastic that are the easiest to recycle compared to other kinds of plastics. PET is commonly used for beverage, sauce or detergent bottles. The PET plastic recycling methodology is ‘1’ and it can be used to make plastic materials or fiberfill stuffing after being recycled.
- HDPE refers to high-density polyethylene commonly used in bottles storing milk, juice or oil, ice cream tubs and shampoo bottles. The recycling symbol is ‘2’. Samples of commonly recycled products are compost bins, pipes or outdoor furniture.
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is represented by the recycling symbol ‘3’. PVC are used in plumbing pipes or garden hoses. Samples of commonly recycled products are pipes, shoes, bags or floor coverings.
- LDPE (low density polyethylene) is represented by the recycling symbol ‘4’ and is used in the making of garbage and recycling bins. Samples of commonly recycled products are films and bags. PP (polypropylene) is represented by the recycling symbol ‘5’ and is used to make microwave ovens or containers for dairy products. Samples of commonly recycled products are boxes, plant pots or automotive parts.
- PS (polystyrene), represented by the recycling symbol ‘6’ is clear and transparent. It is used to make drinking glasses or containers for food. Samples of commonly recycled products are industrial stools, office accessories or coat hangers.
Another type of plastic sharing the same symbol ‘6’ is EPS(expanded polystyrene) which is foamed. It is used to produce boxes or hot drink cups. Samples of commonly recycled products are synthetic timber products or materials used for the building industry.
- Other types of plastic such as resins and multi-blend plastic materials are represented by the symbol ‘7’. Their original and recycled used depend on the materials concerned.
DO YOU KNOW THAT…
When plastics are recycled, they are usually used to make a lower quality form of plastic. For example, plastic water bottles cannot be recycled into new plastic water bottles but the resins from them can be used to make fibers for pillows. Other common products that are made from recycled plastics include toys, drainage pipes, tables, car parts, etc. A majority of these items cannot be recycled, thus making plastics a dead-end waste stream.
At present, there are more than 50 different group of plastics with hundred varieties and applications. Most of them are recyclable, subject to the levels of contamination.
Thanam Industries has many years of experience in the recycling of plastic products. We are able to handle the technical as well as the materials specifications involved. We are a one-stop solution and waste management provider.