10 Tips for Those Who Want to sort and Recycle Plastic

Climate and environment blog

Do you sort plastic? Good! Thinking of starting to do it? Also good! Sorting plastic junk is as easy as it sounds, but there are some rules for sorting to do it right. Here’s how to sort and recycle plastic properly.

Sorting plastic waste is as justified and natural as putting glass, metal and cardboard junk in their own garbage cans. The plastic packaging is utilized for reuse and becomes new plastic bags, flower pots, and plastic buckets as part of the circular economy.

However, there are many different types of plastics and yet all plastics cannot be recycled, but some are burnt and used for energy. As a sorter, you don’t have to worry too much, but one thing to keep in mind: PVC plastic and packaging that may contain hazardous waste residues do not belong in the plastic collection.

Otherwise, plastic sorting is not a complicated thing. Here are ten simple tips to make you a real plastic recycling professional.

1. Is your plastic junk a package?

If the answer is yes, then the garbage is welcome in the plastic collection!

All plastic boxes, plastic covers and plastic bags that you bought different products in are counted as plastic packaging and can be placed in the plastic collection, also larger plastic bags.

Empty yogurt cans, butter cans, and cheese packs can all be put into the plastic collection, as well as empty shampoo and soap cans and all kinds of bottles, canisters, bags, covers, and cans of plastic.

The exception is, as mentioned, PVC packaging.  Packages that have contained dangerous substances such as paints, chemicals, oils or pharmaceuticals, you should also not put in the plastic collection.

2. Is the plastic junk not a package?

If this is the case, you should put the plastic garbage in the mixed waste. The plastic collection is expressly for plastic packaging.

Broken toys, slings, water jugs, and similar plastic products that are not plastic packaging belong in the mixed waste.

3. Unscrew the caps for better recovery

The refining of the plastic garbage works better if you remove the cork and lids from the packaging before placing them in the collection.

For example, a plastic cork and a plastic bottle, or a lid and a package on a meat package, often consist of different types of plastic. They are further sorted by the reuse unit when they are completely detached from each other and the trash reusability increases.

Take apart all loose parts that are included in the package as far as possible. Put them in the sorting separately. Of course, metal or aluminum lids and corks belong in their own garbage cans, not in the plastic collection.

4. Pack airy!

Unlike cardboard packaging, plastic packaging should not be packed tightly inside each other.

The machines that sort the plastic in the recycling process only recognize the packaging that exists at the very end and then different types of plastic fail if different packages are packed into each other.

However, it is ok to throw its plastic junk into the collection in a plastic bag, it recognizes the machines.

5. Rinse or wipe the plastic debris

Rinse or wipe the packages before putting them in the collection. You do not need to wash the debris but clean it from food debris or substances that can cause odor and moisture.

The plastic garbage is clean enough for the collection if you can store it in your home for an extended period of time without smelling anything. You can put plastic packaging that is difficult to get clean in the waste.

6. Tricky with mixed materials? How to use

Some packaging consists partly of plastic and partly of other materials. If the parts cannot be separated from one another, sort them according to the material that is more than half the weight of the package.

For example: chips and coffee packages are often made of plastic, but contain an aluminum layer. If you consider that the bag is mostly plastic, you can put it in the plastic collection.

It is not always easy to determine which material a pack consists largely of. One trick is to crumple the packaging: if it unfolds again it is mostly plastic! If it stays wrinkled, it is aluminum.

7. Biodegradable plastic then?

You can throw biodegradable plastic packaging in the plastic collection. Although they will not be reused, they will end up among waste that is used for energy.

Biodegradable plastic bags have been manufactured to quickly fall apart and are not suitable for plastic collection. You can put them in the trash.

8. And the black plastic?

Have you also heard that black plastic cannot be recycled? That’s right so far, but you can still put black plastic in the plastic collection.

The sorting plants do not yet recognize what kind of plastic a black packaging consists of and the recycling therefore does not work, but the technology is constantly evolving and soon black plastic can also be recycled.

9. Where should you throw your plastic?

Plastic collection is another relatively new phenomenon and far from all the house companies have their own collection containers for plastic waste.

If you still want to sort plastic junk, you can check out maps online where the nearest plastic collection point is.

You can also address the issue of plastic collection in your home company.

10. If in doubt – sort anyway

You are left with plastic packaging of a more unusual kind and are not entirely sure that it is placed in the plastic collection. It’s okay, you can put it in the plastic collection anyway.

The recycling unit knows if a package can be reused or not. If your plastic packaging is not suitable for recycling, nothing is lost if you still put it in the plastic collection – the machines sort it out.

This applies to clear and clear plastic. After all, if you are not sure about the packaging of mixed materials, it is better to put them in the mixed waste.

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