Super Team

Waste Recycling

Why recycle plastic and what are the types of plastic?

Although Plastic has been recognized as one of the most useful innovation in the 19th century, it has become the biggest environmental hazard in the 20th century when it is disposed indiscriminately as waste. Plastic does not degrade naturally. Its production needs a fair amount of fossil fuels, both as a raw material and as source of energy in the production process. Hence, both production as well as use of plastics has a range of environmental impacts. Plastic when disposed takes up large amount of land filling and obstruct drainage systems creating floods in many urban areas. Plastic can be a recyclable material and it has a value as a material if separated from other waste.

Types of Plastics

According to chemical physics, plastic is defined as a polymer and polymer in turn is made up of monomers. Depending on the chemical composition and the arrangement of the monomers, characteristics of the polymers vary. Based on their chemical properties, plastics can be categorized into 2 types;
•    Hard plastics – relatively large and thick solids eg. Cans, bowls etc.
•    Sheet plastics - thin sheets eg. Polythene, shopping bags

The segregation of the waste plastics into both these categories is important for recycling. Therefore, the things to be excluded from composting bin can be identified as follows:

•    High Density Polyethylene – Used in packaging of low shelf-life products.
•    Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - Pipes, fittings, cable insulators
•    Low density Polyethylene – Flexible film bags, rigid items- food storage containers
•    Polypropylene (PP) – Yogurt cups, Margarine caps, battery cases
•    Polystyrene – Disposable lunchboxes, Form plats, Cups, Foam packing

For identification features please download the pdf file.

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