What Happens at a Recycling Facility?

Inspected

  • If there is excess dirt or moisture, it is rejected.
  • The recycler must reject material that he cannot process or sell, or he will have to pay to landfill it. This is why the recycler often requests a small sample of the material first before agreeing to accept larger quantities. Another reason to talk to the recycler first, to avoid frustrations on both sides. 

Weighed

  • The material will be weighed on the truck.

Separated by plastic type

  • If the material is a mixture of materials, then it might be sorted at this point.
  • This costs the recycler money, and will be deducted from the value. 

Shredded

  • The material is either shredded or ground through mechanical methods into small pieces.
  • If there is dirt or metal in the plastic material, the recycler’s blades could be damaged, which is a very significant capital cost to a recycler.  

Weighed

  • It is this weight that the recycler will pay out on.
  • So only the usable plastic is paid for.

Sold to a manufacturer

  • Often, the recycler is not the end user of the material, so after the plastic is ground into pellet form, it is marketed and sold to another facility that will process the plastic as a raw material
  • There are a variety of end uses for recycled agricultural plastics, such as plastic bags, plastic lumber for outdoor decking, and non-food related plastic containers. For example, many new nursery containers are now being made from the plastic resin that is generated from recycling plastic nursery containers. 

This is a truly closed loop recycling system allowing for significant resources to be saved in the production of agricultural plastic products.

The following flow diagram shows what happens at a recycling facility.

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