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Plastic Films & Bags can be Recycled

Friday, 07. June 2019

Posted by Martin Baumann

Film and Plastic Bag Recycling Technology

Plastic films and bags are a recycling challenge, but it is worth pointing out that with proper processes these materials don't have to be single-use. The plastic molecule that makes up the plastic bag or film is highly engineered and hence of value. We shouldn't look at the plastic bag or packaging film simply from the product point-of-view, but from a material point-of-view.

The product might be single-use, the material doesn't have to be. No one associates an Aluminum beer can with single-use, no one is refilling the can either. It is undeniable easier for the consumer to recycle a beer can compared to any plastic bag or film, but the principal technologies exist to recycle a significant portion of film that is today considered waste. While we have to minimize use, it is not realistic to eliminate all single-use plastics. In many cases plastic is the best choice of material when the entire Life Cycle is considered and especially Green House Gas Emissions. What's missing is that we don't attach a value to the material and recover it for next life use.

Some of the options for recovery and giving that plastic bag molecule another life can be found in this report:

 

Plastics Film & Bag Recycling - New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) for Film PHASE I TECHNOLOGY PACKAGE

EREMA’s contribution is the technology that turns what is often currently considered waste (unfortunately) into useful materials again.

On an industrial scale, this is what plastics film and bag recycling looks like:

 

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