According to Obaggo, only 1% of plastic bags and packaging film are recycled. This is a tragedy when it's quite possible and even easy to capture, transport and recycle plastic bags.
Historically, plastic bags might be re-used within the home but many are simply discarded in the trash rather than recycled. Worse, far too many end up in the environment, leading to calls for plastic bag bans.
There are multiple reasons for not recycling plastic bags including:
- Consumers aren't aware that plastic bags are recyclable
- Plastics recyclers may not know that pragmatic technology exists to deal with all of the types of plastic bags produced
Obaggo is looking to change this, at least from a consumer perspective. With the Obaggo Recycling Appliance, they've built a simple home-based machine that neatly compresses plastic bags into 'pucks'. These dense pucks make gathering and transporting plastic bags for recycling easy. Perhaps more importantly, by bringing this product to market, they're raising the awareness of consumers that plastic bags are even recyclable!
The second challenge, that plastics recyclers are potentially unaware that plastic bag recycling machines exist that are reliable and cost-effective and that can recycle plastic bags at scale into valuable pellets is being addressed by EREMA.
Plastic film (the material that bags are produced from) presents many technical recycling challenges. Perhaps the most difficult is that the bags are thin and light making them difficult to manage in a production environment. They may also be printed. Removing inks from the plastic recycle stream is essential to creating plastic pellets that have commercial value.
EREMA Plastic Bag Recycling Machine
You can learn a bit more about the Obaggo home plastic bag recycling appliance and EREMA plastic bag recycling machines in this video:
In light of these new plastic bag recycling technologies, perhaps a re-think of plastic bag bans in due?
Are you a plastics recycler looking to see if your plastic mix, including plastic bags can be reliably recycled? Take advantage of a free material recycling test!