How Recycled Plastic Is Processed: Key Steps Involved

Posted on

When you recycle a plastic bottle, you may think that it simply disappears and is replaced with another bottle. However, the recycling process is actually much more complex than that.

This blog post will briefly explain how recycled plastic is processed.

Collection and Sorting

The first step in recycling plastic is collecting the plastic waste. This plastic waste can come from individual households or businesses. Once the plastic waste is collected, it is sorted by type of plastic.

There are a few different types of plastic, and each type must be recycled differently. Different types of plastic are made of different chemicals, so they require different recycling processes.

The most common types of plastic are PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Other types of plastic include PVC (polyvinyl chloride), LDPE (low-density polyethylene), and PP (polypropylene).


After the plastic waste is sorted, it is shredded into small pieces. The shredding process helps reduce plastic waste to a manageable size. It aims to break up the long chains of molecules that give plastics their strength and flexibility. This makes it easier to break down the plastic into its component parts so that it can be reused to create new products.

Shredding also helps remove impurities from the plastic, such as labels and colors. The shredded plastic is then cleaned and pelletized, a process that turns the shredded pieces into small pellets that can be used to make new products.

Pelletizing ensures that recycled plastic has a consistent quality and can be used to make products that are just as strong and durable as those made from virgin plastic.


The next step in recycling plastic is melting the plastic pellets. This is done so that the plastic can be molded into new products. The plastic is melted at a high temperature to make it easier to mold.

The molten plastic is then poured into the desired molds. The plastic cools and hardens in the mold to take on the desired shape. The molding process can be used to create various products, such as plastic bottles, containers, and even clothes.

A Few Things to Note

Recycled plastic has many applications and can create a wide range of products. However, not all plastic can be recycled. Some types of plastic, such as Styrofoam cannot be recycled and aren't even biodegradable.

Other types of plastic can only be recycled a few times before they become too damaged to be reused. As the plastic is recycled over and over again, these pieces become smaller and smaller. Eventually, the plastic becomes so damaged that it can no longer be used to make new products.

However, recycling plastic is still beneficial as it reduces the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills. It also helps to reduce the demand for virgin plastic, which is made from fossil fuels.

For more information, contact a plastic processing service.