PVC Recycling

For nearly 50 years, Adams Plastics has led the way among plastic recycling companies, committing our Recycling Division to providing fair recycle prices and keeping plastic materials available for reuse instead of lining landfills. Materials often come from post industrial and consumer environments, including parts, scrap, purge, or chunks.

Our recycling process includes grinding, sorting and bailing. Once recycled and ready for reuse, Adams Plastics sells materials both domestically and internationally.

An Overview of Recycling Plastics

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 8.7 percent of the plastic produced in 2018 got recycled. While some particular types of plastic, like PET bottles and jars, had a higher recycling rate, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. At Adams Plastics, our Recycling Division has been keeping plastic out of landfills and making it available for reuse for about 50 years.

Plastic Recycling Process

There are six general steps in the plastic recycling process. It’s important to review these to ensure you’re taking the necessary measures as a consumer before you send your recycling out to local collection services or bring it to designated facilities, as every place is different and may not accept everything. You can contact Adams Plastics directly to learn more about their specific plastic recycling process.

  1. Collection: Recyclable plastics must be collected from consumers. Many city governments have a collection service. You may also be able to take your recyclables to a designated facility or you can work with a private company that offers collection services.
  2. Sorting: Before recycling, plastics must be separated by type and, in some cases, by color or thickness. It’s also important to sort out any other materials, like cardboard or non-recyclable plastic, that may have been thrown into the same container.
  3. Washing: Dirt, chemicals, labels and adhesives, and food residue can ruin freshly recycled plastic, forcing it to be thrown away after all. By washing your recyclables before sending them to the recycling facility, you aid this cleaning process.
  4. Shredding: Breaking down the plastic into smaller pieces prepares it for processing and reuse. During this step, additional contaminants can be removed.
  5. Identification and Separation: By floating plastic pieces in water or sending them through an air tunnel, the plastics can be separated by class and quality.
  6. Compounding: The plastic particles are melted together and turned into a new plastic product.

When you look at your plastic products, you’ll notice a number indicating the type of plastic. There are three primary types of recyclable plastic: Number 1, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Number 2, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and Number 3, plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Products like milk jugs, juice and other beverage bottles, shampoo bottles, toys, pipes, and more are typically made of these plastics.

Plastics Number 4, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), Number 5, polypropylene (PP), and Number 6, polystyrene (PS) are also recyclable, but they are more difficult and/or costly to recycle, and not all facilities are willing to handle them. Your local government or private company recycling guidelines will tell you which plastics are recyclable in your area.

Importance of Plastic Recycling

Plastic products are overtaking landfills and polluting our water and soil. The demand for plastic products, from disposable water bottles to diapers, toys, and trash bags, is on the rise. In 2018, the United States alone produced 35.7 million tons of plastic products—27 million tons of which ended up in the landfill. These numbers highlight why plastic recycling is so important, but there are many reasons to do so:

  • Reduce Pollution
    Reduce Pollution:

    • When you recycle one ton of plastic, you save 7.4 cubic yards of space in the landfill. Not only that, but you prevent those plastics from ending up in the ocean or breaking down into the small pieces that contaminate our soil and drinking water. A vast amount of the garbage in the ocean is plastic, which harms and kills seabirds and marine animals by the hundreds of thousands.
  • Conserve Energy
    Conserve Energy:

    • Plastic production requires an enormous investment of water, natural gas, and/or coal. Recycling plastics to create new products can save 5,774 kilowatts of energy compared to creating a plastic product from raw materials. One estimate suggests that recycling one ton of plastic saves enough electricity to run a home for about seven months.
  • Follow Laws and Regulations
    Follow Laws and Regulations:

    • More cities, states, and countries are making laws about recycling or creating programs that make it easier for people to recycle. These include mandatory recycling, single use plastics bans, and recycling incentives.

In most areas, recycling is fairly easy for the consumer. From centrally located drop-offs to convenient collection services, all you have to do is educate yourself about which plastics are recyclable in your area, then clean and pre-sort them to help the recycling facility do its job as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Obstacles in the Plastic Recycling Industry

Despite greater awareness of and accessibility to recycling among the public, the plastic recycling process isn’t easy. Recycling facilities face several challenges:

  • Sorting: It can be difficult and time-consuming to sort recyclable materials. Some products are made of mixed plastics that can’t be recycled, and some facilities don’t recycle certain materials. Consumers aren’t always aware of these challenges, and they don’t take the time to ensure their recyclables are identified and sorted prior to collection.
  • Hard-to-Remove Residues: Labels are affixed to plastic products with adhesives that can be hard to remove. Food residue and other potential contaminants can also cause challenges when it comes to cleaning and sorting.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Some plastics, such as PS, require more energy to recycle; in the end, it’s faster and cheaper to simply produce a new PS product than it is to recycle one.
  • Recyclability: Some materials are harder to recycle than others. Plastic bags are typically made of LDPE, which is recyclable—but the bags may clog a machine, making it risky for the facility to take those on. Because PP is used in so many products, from clothing to playground equipment, it can be expensive and difficult to recycle—even though it’s incredibly versatile and can be recycled about four times before it perceptibly degrades.

Fortunately, technology is advancing. Recycling is becoming more accessible to consumers, and the plastics industry is learning more about how to cost-effectively produce and recycle its products. We may soon have the knowledge and capabilities to efficiently recycle all types of plastic.

Adams Plastics Plastic Recycling

At Adams Plastics, our Recycling Division is committed to reusing plastics rather than sending them to the landfill. We accept parts, scraps, purge, and chunks from post-industrial and consumer environments, and we recycle many types of materials, including:

  • PVC
  • LDPE
  • PET
  • PP
  • PS
  • ABS
  • Nylon
  • PC

As demand for plastic products continues to grow, recycling will become even more important to reduce pollution, save landfill space, and conserve energy. Adams Plastics is leading the way with fair recycling prices and a worldwide network for recycled plastic products.

Contact us to learn more about our plastic recycling process and types of recyclable plastics or to request a quote for your project.