Polyethylene is a thermoplastic material obtained by the polymerization of ethylene.
The different types of polyethylene we can find in the market are the result of different operating conditions during the polymerization reaction.
In our cosmetic plastic containers factory, we work with two of them: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), with which we manufacture our cylindrical bottles, tubes, and various shapes.
How to recycle HDPE and LDPE containers
HDPE material is rigid, and its recycling process is simpler than that of LDPE, which often arrives in the form of film and requires specific crushing and agglomeration processes.
The resulting product in both cases is usually plastic pellets that are sent to processors to obtain a wide variety of products.
However, both the recycling process and those necessary for the transformation of the resulting material require investment, which implies a considerable price difference between it and the virgin material.
How can polyethylene be recycled?
Recycling of HDPE can be mechanical or thermal. Below is a brief explanation of both:
– Mechanical recycling: after receiving and storing the materials, the plastic is selected and identified, removing everything that is considered a contaminant of the material.
Next, the HDPE is ground or crushed and then washed, a process that is carried out at this point and that can also be carried out prior to the selection of the plastic.
Finally, it is dried and palletized in flake or pellet form, incorporating it back into the production process.
– Thermal recycling: consists of the combustion of plastic to obtain energy.
It requires sophisticated technology to have strict control of gas emissions and thus determine whether recycling by this method is favorable.
Low-Density Polyethylene is also recycled by mechanical recycling.
The difference is that milling is replaced by guillotining, agglomerating the material in agglomerators or densifiers, where the plastic flakes increase their apparent density.
Low-Density Polyethylene is currently the second most processed plastic material in the European Union. However, its recovery rate is around 35%, according to the association PRE (Plastic Recyclers Europe).
This is why PRE has published a document in which three challenges are recognized in order to achieve the desired objectives, which are:
– Increasing the collection rate and improving the quality of waste.
– Adaptation of packaging design and manufacturing.
– Technological improvements in the sorting and recycling process.
Oil bottles can be recycled
Recycling is an important way to prevent waste from accumulating in landfills. While motor oil containers are not recyclable, cooking oil containers are. Clean the container thoroughly before attempting to recycle it. Check with local restaurants and waste authorities to determine where you can recycle the excess cooking oil. Finally, take the container to a recycling center or arrange for collection.
Recycle the container
Clean the container. Depending on where you live, you may or may not have to wash the container. If you do, turn it upside down on a disposable napkin and allow excess oil to drain out. Discard the napkin in the trash. When the oil stops dripping from the bottle, fill it with hot water and a little liquid soap, replace the cap and shake it several times. Pour the soapy water into the sink.
Find a recycling center or program near you. There are two basic recycling options: collection centers and collection services. You’ll probably have to pay for the latter, but you’ll save time and won’t have to go all the way to the recycling center.
– Use Earth911’s recycling services search at http://search.earth911.com/?utm_source=earth911-header&utm_medium=top-navigation-menu&utm_campaign=top-nav-recycle-search-button to find a program near you.
– You’ll find a similar tool at http://iwanttoberecycled.org/.
Check with local recycling program staff to determine if they accept empty oil containers. First, identify the type of plastic in the container by checking the bottom or side of the container. Locate the number inside the recycling triangle. Then contact your local recycling program and ask them for details about recycling this type of container.
– Many recycling programs provide explicit lists of what they do and do not accept on their websites.
– Most oil bottles are made of #1 clear plastic. This is the most common type of plastic, and empty oil containers will usually be accepted along with the rest of the plastic and other recyclable materials.
Take recyclables to a collection point or wait for collection. Collection services operate just like municipal garbage collection: a truck will come on a designated day (usually once a week) and collect recyclables from the dumpster. The collector will usually provide the container but may charge you a small fee. Collection points require you to deposit empty oil containers and other recycling materials in the appropriate container. For example, there might be a container for plastics #1 and #2, one for paper and cardboard, and one for glass.
– If you’re taking recyclables, you’ll save time if you organize them according to the categories accepted at the recycling center. For example, you might have one container for newspaper and junk mail, one for clear glass, one for colored glass, one for plastic #1 and #2, and one for all other types of plastic.
– Collection services usually accumulate them in a unique way. That is, you won’t have to organize glass, plastic, and paper in separate containers. Instead, place all recyclables in a single container and leave it in a place where the service can access it (usually at the curb near the driveway).
Reuse empty containers if possible. An even greener option for dealing with empty containers is to reuse them. For example, you can cut off the tops of the containers and use them to organize tools and metal parts in the garage. You could also cut a clean oil pan lengthwise, fill it with soil, and use it as a growing bed for small plants. Don’t store anything that can be damaged.
– Don’t store anything that could be damaged by exposure to oil residue.