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In a way, plastic is not much more than hardened crude oil with an incredible range of material properties. It can be soft and flexible or hard and stable; it can be transparent or colourful. And, in the major-ity of cases, plastic is made from crude oil – a finite substance that is not particularly environmentally friendly to mine or process. Which is why the whole idea of recycling plastic is not an ecological luxury but something that is absolutely vital for both the industrial sector and the environment. And not only since China introduced a ban on imports of plastic waste, forcing Europe to rethink the way it should handle this material.
Anyone who recycles plastic knows that this material reacts in a similar way to paper when it is recycled. Just as the paper fibres get shorter each time they are recycled (determining what they can be used for – from high qual-ity printing paper to toilet paper), so, too, do the hydro-carbon chains get shorter with each recycling process. This factor must also be taken into account when deciding what product groups the recycled plastic can be used for: from high quality injection moulded parts for the automo-bile and aviation industries, to components for computers and consumer electronics, all the way through to being the source material for containers, bins and garden equipment. Plastic can be recycled around five times before it returns to what crude oil generally is: fuel for generating energy and heat.
Which means this black gold effectively has seven lives – from being mined and refined, to being reused, on average, five times as a plastic product, to finally being used as fuel. It is even possible to express how plastic recycling helps to curb climate change in concrete figures. One tonne of recycled plastic cuts carbon emissions by up to 1.6 tonnes.
Every single tonne of recycled plastic cuts carbon emissions by 1.6t and preserves 2t of crude oil.
And each tonne that is recycled is not just one tonne less which the industry has to buy as crude oil on the global market – it is also one tonne less of waste plastic in our seas and oceans. These are all excellent arguments for increasing plastics recycling, as REMONDIS has been doing with its company RE Plano for many years now.
RE Plano has specialised in plastics recycling for 60 years now, supplying customers in over 35 countries around the world. Each year, the company produces around 35,000 tonnes of secondary raw materials, 20,000 tonnes of which are plastic pellets. Besides producing high quality granules, plastic compounds, pellets and ground goods, RE Plano also markets production waste which it is unable to recycle in its own facilities. Moreover, REMONDIS PET Recycling GmbH operates the most modern PET bottle recycling plant in Europe. It played a major role in developing a collection and reverse deposit scheme in Germany. Huge counting centres provide data-protected services for manufacturers and retailers.