Recycling Innovations: Where The Future Of Recycling Is Taking Us

Recycling innovations

Sep 7, 2021

Recycling Innovations: Where The Future Of Recycling Is Taking Us

It’s clear that the future is recycled and recycling innovations are coming in hot.

Chemical recycling, an innovative plastic recovery technology, is out to make plastic more sustainable. The new technology is attracting tremendous interest and massive investments into the plastics recycling sector.

Unlike mechanical recycling, which recovers select plastics, chemical recycling recovers all kinds of plastic materials. 

The revolutionary technology removes plastics’ odour, colour, and contaminants to create valuable, highly recyclable material.

It turns waste plastics into a virgin-grade feedstock that can be converted into different plastic materials with diverse applications. Refiners can now recover coloured PP bottles, HDPE, and rigid packs which had lower recyclate value.

Dig in as we explore some of the innovative ways to recycle and recover plastic and improve sustainability.

Eco-Friendly Clothing 

Eco-friendly clothing made from recycled plastics

To the uninitiated, the thought of a shirt or tee made from recycled plastic might seem unsettling. But at the heart of it, it’s hard to tell the recycled fabrics from the regular polyester material.

Shirts and t-shirts made from recycled fabrics are just as soft and comfortable as the standard fabrics, but more durable. 

Recycled fabrics are more sustainable because they’re easier to manufacture. It only takes a fraction of the energy and resources necessary to create polyester fabrics from scratch.

Creating new polyester fibres is a high-energy process that uses ethylene (derived from petroleum), coal, air, and water. It generates extreme amounts of heat and consumes plenty of energy and natural resources. 

On the flipside, recycled polyester is made from recovered plastic bottles, cutting out the need for coal and petroleum extraction.

The production process starts at the bottle recovery centre or a landfill. Refiners clean and shred the plastic bottles into flakes using machines running on renewable energy. 

The flakes are broken into micro pellets, which are then extruded into yarns and spurned into soft fabrics. The soft plastic fabrics manufacture comfortable and environmentally friendly t-shirts, shirts, and other garments. 

It takes 9 to 10 plastic bottles to make a t-shirt with recycled polyester fibres. Some t-shirts are 100% recycled plastic, while some brands infuse a bit of organic cotton to improve comfort and wearability. 

Oceanness, a plastic tee manufacturer, contends that their production process lowers carbon emission by 55%, uses 20% less water, and 50% less energy. Way to go guys!

3D Printed Furniture 

3D printed furniture

3D printing has rapidly changed the plastic furniture manufacturing scene.

Traditionally, manufacturing plastic furniture was the reserve of huge companies as it required huge, expensive machinery and equipment.

The rise of 3D printing technology lowered the entry bar while powering the design process. It eliminated the need for molds and expensive prototypes to increase the range of furniture design vastly.

However, it’s the introduction of recycled polycarbonate 3D printing filament that changed the game.

Made from recycled plastic, this recycled filament is cheap and available in various colours and properties.

Compared to virgin material, the recycled filament is superior because:

  • It has a lower carbon footprint
  • It is more durable
  • It can be manufactured to exact industrial specs
  • It has excellent strength and thermal stability 

Due to these qualities, the resultant 3D printed products can withstand high environmental temperatures and resists warping.

More importantly, it allows the printing of large and more complex shapes. It grants furniture makers the creative leeway to push their creative flow. 

3D printed range of furniture is lightweight, colourful, contemporary, unique, and delightful. It’s the power behind the influx of futuristic furniture designs on the market today. 

Best of all, 3D printed furniture is sustainable and can be recycled indefinitely into a fresh batch of 3D filament. 


Cellphones can be made with recycled plastic housing

In 2009, Motorola and Fido launched the MOTO w233 Renew, a cellphone with 100% recyclable plastic housing.

Renew is an affordable, eco-friendly, high-quality handset available in the Canadian market. The handset was made from 25% recycled plastic, which helped Fido deliver it at a pocket-friendly price. 

The plastic housing on the handsets were made exclusively from recycled five-gallon water bottles. It’s estimated if the 5-gallon water bottles necessary to build a million handsets were stacked end-to-end, they’d be 5X taller than the CN Tower.

Renew was also the first CarbonFree certified handset on the market, helping Motorola lower its carbon footprint while delivering reliable and affordable handsets. 

Renew came with up to nine hours of talk time to reduce charging frequency and help users conserve powers.

Its packaging was reduced by 22%, and the in-box materials were reduced by 80% and printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks. 

Plastic Roads

Roads made from recycled plastic material

After debuting in India twenty years ago, plastic roads are gaining ground around the USA, Europe, Britain, and Asia.

A growing wealth of information shows that plastic roads can outperform traditional roads because they’re: 

  • Stronger
  • More durable 
  • Resilient to temperature swings 
  • Have a higher load-bearing capacity
  • Less susceptible to damage 

Unlike bitumen roads, plastic roads are more resistant to potholes, water damage, and cracking. They’re largely seen as a long-term solution to the plastic waste problem.

Plastic roads can potentially reclaim hundreds of thousands of plastic wastes from landfills.

Currently, companies building plastic roads use multilayer plastics such as plastic bags and food packaging deemed hard to recycle.

Hence, road building stands to benefit from chemical recycling technology. The constant need to build new roads may create a consistent demand. 

Waste plastic is melted and infused with other ingredients to make road asphalt when building plastic roads.

Typical road asphalt comprises up to 95% sand, gravel, or limestone aggregate and 5% to 10% bitumen, a binding agent. To create a stronger binding agent, contractors replace 4% to 10% of the bitumen with plastic waste. 

Plastic roads are superior simply because they use an outstanding binding agent.

When mixed with bitumen, recycled plastics improve the strength, stability, and fatigue life of the bituminous mix, enhancing pavement performance and longevity. 

Leading plastic road contractors estimate that plastic road construction could lower the plastic waste by 40% at the municipality level.

Every ton of a bituminous mix can potentially recycle up to 80,000 plastic bottles and each kilometre of a plastic road can recover nearly 750,000 plastic bags.

Be Part of the Change

You can help further these innovative solutions and tame the plastic menace by recycling your beverage containers.

At East Hills Bottle Deport, we collect and refund you for every accepted container you deliver to us. 

From aluminum cans to Tetra Paks, clear plastics to milk and juice cartons, glass to foil drink pouches, we’ll take it all. 

Besides, we make recycling your empty beverage containers fun and convenient. Visit us today. Bring the kids along for a family fun day. Enjoy our valet service. Have a free coffee, socialize, and make a bit of spending money. 

At East Hills Bottle Depot, we make recycling fun and enjoyable. 

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