Surely, we are already in the habit, some more than others, of collecting our waste separately at home for recycling. In the industrial field, although there is still a long way to go in this regard, the reuse of some products, either to reactivate their use or to give them another functionality, is becoming increasingly important. In this new era of Circular Economy, it is absolutely necessary to talk about recycled plastics.
Recycled plastics: the challenge
The recovery of post-consumer plastics is tricky because, although the recycling process in itself is not very complex, the sorting, the separation of the waste, sure are. Mixing different types of polymers when recycling can alter the properties of the resulting polymer. This can lead to streaks, for example, affecting the appearance of the final plastic, or to variations in its mechanical behaviour that can cause unwanted production stoppages.
That is why, years ago, recycled plastics started to be introduced mainly where mechanical and aesthetic requirements of the manufactured product were not very demanding.
The rise of recycled plastics
In recent years, several factors have catapulted the demand for recycled plastics and the necessary revaluation of them.
The price of recycled plastics, in most cases lower than that of first quality plastics, is a strong incentive to consider their use.
Plastics recycling processes have evolved rapidly and today it is possible to obtain recycled plastics with a better quality from the recycled polymer allowing it to be used in a wider range of items and applications.
With increased flows from separate collection of waste produced both domestically and industrially, there is now a wider offer of recycled plastics.
Over the last few years, in Europe, different countries have been enforcing with greater determination new legislation with the application of taxes on first quality plastic, or with benefits for companies if there is an incorporation of recycled plastics in the final manufactured product, etc. This legislation has been one of the driving forces behind the consumption of recycled plastics.
Over the last few years, we have witnessed, for example, the explicit prohibition by law of all those plastic items that have historically been of single use and of a more uncontrollable profile in their disposal once their “very short” useful life is over, in order to try to avoid or minimise their massive consumption. There is a greater social awareness of responsible use and consumption on the part of each of us, but above all putting all the focus and attention on channelling this waste properly to prevent it from ending up altering ecosystems, with uncontrolled dumping in the environment. This awareness and responsible use are key to avoid the “demonisation” of plastic and of an industry as necessary as all that produces items and solutions in plastic material. The introduction of recyclable plastics contributes to improving the perception of this industry.
Recycled plastics at Quimidroga
Although historically Quimidroga has been a distributor of first quality plastics, over the last 4 years we have been working intensively in the distribution of recycled plastics.
In this new context of increasing demand for recycled plastics, and with much still to be done, at Quimidroga we have been marketing a representative range of them (marked with an “R-” that determines their recycled origin) such as high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE), low-density polyethylene (R-LDPE), polypropylene (R-PP), polystyrene (R-PS) and polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET). We are still working to add other R-Polymers, coming from recycling of more technical qualities, once these flows in the recycling industry are sufficiently abundant and above all efficient to allow their incorporation in the production and use circuit.