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Why is recycling plastic hard? The answer is surprising

Why is recycling plastic hard? The answer is surprising

This #plasticfreejuly we're running a plastic processing education campaign on the high level technicalities of plastic recycling. It is truly enlightening. Honestly

For many sustainable businesses wrangling packaging supply chains and managing costs, this question is a recuring nightmare. They don't want virgin, but virgin plastic is cheap and used by non eco competitors. Recycling plastics is tough and expensive. It's not the processing issue so much as the variably quality of the feedstock which weakens the product and that often sees recycled resin mixed with virgin, unknown to recycled plastic purchasers. 

The problem is 'polymer degradation' and the most common cause in recycled plastics are the wide-spectrum contaminants found in the recycling stream. The plastic itself gets weakened when these contaminants / foreign particles make it through the cleaning and sorting process and into the final resin feedstock. 

Global plastics marketplace Oceanworks® use a local country collection and processing strategy, which keeps cleaning and recycling facilities close to collection points, and also allows recyclers to sell globally on their platform. It's a clever and sustainable strategy and is already proving that by creating stronger demand and increasingly more sophisticated technology - are the 'feedstock' to improve recycling. (And why I am so excited about it.) 

For more information on contaminants in plastic recycling, the improving state of recycling around the world and future possibilities, go to Oceanworks blog where the original article can be found. 

Image is a painting by Mara Grubert, called Plastic Nightmare Painting. On 6th July, 2021, it was for sale at Saatchi Art in Spain

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