Company News, Zero Waste

What happens to plastic materials dropped-off at WCS Recycling?

WCS Recycling’s soft and hard plastics are compacted and sent to processors such as Merlin Plastics on Annacis Island in Delta, BC. More than 90% of Merlin Plastics’ recycled plastics are sold to North American companies to be made into new plastic products.

At Merlin’s recycling facility the plastic materials are either shredded into flakes or made into pellets following these steps:

1. the plastics are washed, sorted, and ground into small particles

plastic grinding2. separated by density

3. washed and dried again

4. very small unwanted particles (such as dirt and paper) are removed using elutriation. (Elutriation is a separation process which uses a stream of gas or liquid to separate particles based on their size, shape and density.)

5. the plastic particles are then melted down and formed into pellets

6. lastly, if the final material is to be used in food and drink bottles or containers, volatile material is removed .

Depending on what type of plastic it is the recycled plastic will be used to make: carpets, fiberfill for sleeping bags, pillows, ski jackets, video and audio cassettes, oil and detergent containers, corrugated drainage pipes, garden pots, buckets, structural layers for pop bottles, liquor bottles, water bottles, and juice bottles.

Recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE) pellets

plastic pellets 

Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flakes

plastic flakes

Sources: Merlin PlasticsVancouver SunThomson Rivers University

Author: Leah Coulter

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