Recycling Post-Consumer Plastics

Most of the plastic we recycle from home fall under the PET plastic category, which essentially marks those plastics used for soda bottles, cosmetics, detergents, and other often-used plastics.  These plastics are very easy to recycle, and it is widely encouraged to do so.  Though the materials are relatively harmless, they do build up quickly in landfills because they are used so often.

To encourage recycling, many centers offer a small refund for any plastic returned for recycling.  This is an excellent incentive, considering how much plastic we use each year in our homes.  Before you visit a recycling facility, you should check to see if the refund is in effect at that particular location.

How Plastic Recycling Works

Plastics collected for recycling are often sorted according to color, though unusual colors can complicate the process a bit.  Many facilities simply collect as much plastic as possible, crush it into bales, and then sell it to a recycling company.

For recycling, the plastic is then further crushed, washed, separated, and then treated.  Any foreign fragments, such as paper and plastic caps, are removed so that the plastic can be reduced to flakes.  Those flakes are then reused in other plastic materials or made into polyester fibers.

Where to Recycle Your Plastics

Most recycling facilities will accept your plastic materials, though you should call ahead first to ensure you have chosen the right center.  Recycle San Diego can provide you with a list of local facilities to make your search easier for you.  Before you go, be sure to check the operating hours so that you don’t arrive to find locked doors.

These facilities often only collect and then later sell the plastics to actual recycling companies.  This means you can usually leave several different types of rubbish for recycling in the same place, including paper goods, metals, and glass.