Plastics have become an integral part of our lives. Plastic is everywhere, from the water bottles we drink to the containers that hold our groceries. But have you ever wondered what happens to these plastics after we’re done with them? The journey of plastic is a continuous cycle, a fascinating and crucial process for our environment. Let’s take a deep dive into the stages of recycling plastic and discover how it helps sustain our planet.

The Journey Begins: Raw Materials and Manufacturing

The life cycle of plastics is a simple concept, beginning with the extraction of raw materials. These raw materials are then sent for manufacturing and production, where they are transformed into various plastic products. This is where the journey of a plastic item starts – as a freshly moulded object with endless potential.

From Factory to Consumer: Packaging and Distribution

Once the plastic products are manufactured, they are packaged and distributed to stores and consumers. This is where we, the consumers, come into the picture. We purchase these plastic products for everyday use, from toys to containers and gadgets to bags. The convenience and versatility of plastics make them a popular choice for packaging and consumer goods.

The Consumer’s Role: Use and Disposal

Once we’re done with them, they enter the stage that often causes concern – disposal. This is a critical juncture where we need to make responsible choices. Many plastics end up in landfills or are incinerated, contributing to environmental pollution and resource wastage.

The Turning Point: Recycling by A.R. Richards

Fortunately, there is a way to break the cycle of plastic pollution and resource depletion. This is where we step in. We play a pivotal role in diverting plastics from landfills and incineration towards recycling. We focus on recycling a wide variety of plastic materials, including PP, PE, PET, HDPE, LDPE, PS, and PVC.

The ARR Recycling Process: Turning Waste into Raw Material

Our recycling process is an intricate journey involving several vital stages:

  1. Collection: Recyclable plastics are collected and transported to processing plants.
  2. Sorting: Plastics are meticulously sorted by colour and type at these processing facilities, ensuring efficient recycling.
  3. Baling: We then compress the plastics into mill-sized bales ready for transport.
  4. Transport: Once all plastics are compressed, we work to distribute the plastics according to material type. Some materials are processed in the UK, while others are exported to other countries.
  5. Washing: Before recycling, the plastics are thoroughly washed to remove impurities that could affect the quality of the recycled product.
  6. Shredding: Plastic products are broken down into manageable sizes using plastic shredders, and the fragments are sorted by size and weight.
  7. Granulating: The next step is to granulate the plastic fragments, breaking them down into smaller fractions of an inch. The type of granulator used depends on various factors, including the type of plastic and processing facility needs.
  8. Disinfecting: Specialized machines disinfect the plastic particles and sort them based on their resin content.
  9. Extrusion: The final step involves smashing and melting the plastic particles into small pellets. These plastic pellets are then used to manufacture various new plastic products.

A New Beginning: Plastic Pellets Find a New Purpose

The recycled plastic pellets are sold to manufacturers who use them as raw materials to create new plastic products. This stage breathes new life into the plastic, allowing it to serve a fresh purpose. The cycle then continues as these

products return to consumers, who will ultimately dispose of them, leading to the involvement of ARR once more.

Closing the Loop for a Sustainable Future

The entire process of extracting raw materials, manufacturing plastic, and recycling the material can be complex. Still, it’s essential to ensure efficient resource use and reduce environmental impact. Without recycling, our planet would be inundated with used plastic products, and their potential for future reuse would be impossible.

In the circle of plastic recycling, every stage is critical, and it’s a collective effort that involves manufacturers, consumers, and organisations like ourselves. By making informed choices, recycling our plastics, and supporting sustainable practices, we can contribute to a cleaner and more environmentally responsible future. The journey of plastic doesn’t have to end in a landfill or incinerator; it can continue indefinitely, benefiting our planet and future generations.