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Guide BBC's plastic coverage

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5. What happens to your plastic recycling?

  1. Recyclables are separated at home  in different containers – card, paper, glass, plastics and cans etc.
  2. Recyclables are collected from the kerbside and taken to our depot at Greendale in Woodbury Salterton.
  3. At Greendale materials are stored ready for collection. Plastics and metals are put through a materials recycling facility.
  4. Plastics are separated from the metals in the materials recycling facility. Eddy current separators sort the aluminium and magnets separate the  steel cans.
  5. The process is fully automated.
  6. Plastics, tubs, pots and trays are left and sent through a bailer and are then tied with strong wire for easier handling.
  7. Bales are sent to UK reprocessors for further sorting
  8. An optical sorter separates the mixed plastics by polymer and colour as follows:
    • Natural uncoloured PET (Polyethylene Teraphalate)
    • Coloured PET (Polyethylene Teraphalate)
    • Coloured HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
    • Natural HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
    • PP (Polypropylene)
  9. The separated plastics are then baled by polymer and colour for further use.
  10. Plastics are washed and then flaked.
  11. Some polymers are used in manufacturing to make products such as plastic trays.
  12. Other plastic flakes are melted and extruded to form pellets which can be used in processes such as injection and blow moulding to manufacture new plastic products and packaging.