Plastic has been the hardest to keep up on recycling. The rate of recycling plastic has actually dropped 33.7% (1992) to 26.3% (2000). From these times, 137 billion to 173 billion plastic products have been sold. Since that time, 73-75 billion had been recycled and 64-97 billion had been wasted. Plastic has become a big problem when it comes to recycling, economically anyways. Oil is a big problem because there is a shortage and oil is a big part of plastic production. Prices for plastic products have also been going up, to pop bottles, laundry detergent containers, and milk jugs. All due to the shortage of oil and for this reason, plastic has become a need for recycling.
At the recycling center, plastic is separated into categories by a code, which you can learn more about in the “Recycling by Numbers” link. There, you would have learned that the different types of plastic are separated into categories by the certain polymer that is used to make that type of plastic. You would have also learned the different types of products that come from those polymers. The most-often recycled plastic is HDPE, or number 2, according to the code. It is often used to make plastic lumber, which is used to make park benches, tables, truck cargo lanes, trash receptacles, stationary, and other plastic products that are usually in demand.
After the plastic is separated, employees at the recycling plant must follow these steps:
1) Inspection: The workers will inspect the plastic for rocks or glass
and for plastics that they cannot recycle.