Saturday, February 16, 2008

Recycling: Source separation helps!

There is no single "recycling".

The success of recycling really depends on what you put in the recycling stream - the quality of feedstock.

If the feedstock is contaminated or heterogeneous (as opposed to homogeneous), chances are low that what you recycle will produce the secondary product with marketable quality.

Take paper. There are different kinds/quality of paper and different kinds of inks on them. Glue or food waste might be sticking. If it's plastic, there are even more variety of plastic product out there with different types of color/prints in/on them. There are dirty ones, clean ones, new ones or worn ones, depending on what they are used for.

If everything gets commingled, it is more likely that the feedstock is contaminated and heterogeneous. It won't help recycling at all.

Just one PET beverage bottle has at least three different plastic products: bottle, cap, and the film.

The effort is going on in Japan to separate all three of them from PET bottle. The film has the perforations so as it is easy to tear off from the body. Cap also has some trick to make it easier to source separate.

Source separation matters!


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