It’s common knowledge at this point that you should be recycling your used plastic; with Americans using 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, that’s a lot of plastic that could end up as waste in a landfill if not properly recycled. But what exactly happens to that plastic bottle once you’ve put it in the recycling bin? Read on to learn more about the process of recycling plastics.

Sorting Plastics

First, plastics are sorted out by the different resin contents and types of plastics the items are made of. Small symbols and numbers on the plastic show exactly what type of plastic the items are made of, making it easier to determine how to proceed. From here, there may be an additional sorting step to separate colored plastic bottles from clear plastic bottles and other plastics, since different colors will be recycled for different purposes.

Breaking Down Plastics

From there, the plastics are chopped down into smaller pieces and cleaned. This process removes labels, residue, and other contaminants from the plastic, allowing it to be melted down and formed into small pellets of plastic. These plastic pellets then get shipped to plastic water bottle manufacturers, plastic blow molding companies, plastic packaging makers, and more companies and organizations that use recycled plastics in their end products.

What Is Recycled Plastic Used For?

Recycled plastics are used in a wide variety of products. Plastic water bottle manufacturers will often mix recycled plastic with new plastic to form their plastic bottles, allowing them to use less new plastic. This helps save money for the company, while also reducing the company’s overall environmental impact.

Some products will be made from entirely recycled plastic; however, this is less common. Typically, recycled plastics will be blended with new plastics to strengthen the material. Once the two plastics are combined, they can be formed into just about any plastic item you can think of: plastic jars, plastic packaging, plastic water bottles, and more.

Recycling plastics is an important part of plastics manufacturing, as well as a crucial step in improving the overall health of the environment. Be sure to recycle all the plastic products that you use, so that they can be given use in a new form, rather than ending up in a landfill.