What is rGrade Plastic?
rGrade plastic is a name given to regrind plastic that has been part way recycled, rGrade plastic is widely used in manufacturing processes such as injection moulding when mixed in small quantities with new virgin plastic, rGrade plastic much cheaper than recycled plastic because it has not been subjected to all the steps in the recycling of plastic.
How do you create rGrade Plastic?
Although rGrade plastic hasnt been subjected to all the steps required to be classed as a fully recycled product and be ready for use in manufacturing, such as melting the clean reground plastic and extruding in to the form of pellets it still has to undergo considerable processes to be classified as rGrade plastic pellets.
First step in the recycling of plastic process is to identify and separate the different types of plastic, this is carried out using a combination of the Plastic Identification Codes PIC code for short or by sampling and measuring flow rates in a laboratory.
Plastic Identification Codes
Type 1 is polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) - Fizzy Drink Bottles / Oven Ready Meals
Type 2 is high-density polyethylene (HDPE) Milk and Washing up Bottles
Type 3 is polyvinyl chloride (PVC) = Shampoo, Squash Bottles, Cling Film
Type 4 is low-density polyethylene (LDPE) Carrier Bags & Bin Liners
Type 5 is polypropylene (PP) Micro Meals & butter Tubs
Type 6 is polystyrene (PS) Yoghurt Pots, Toys, Electronic Goods
Type 7 is other (usually PC or ABS) Headlight Lenses, Safety Glasses, Melamine
Washing the plastic to be recycled is an important part of the process, as all debris such as food, labels and adhesive that remain needs to be completely removed or it will contaminate the rGrade plastic, this is one reason why people at home are encouraged to rinse food from plastic containers prior to placing them in the recycling bins.
Once the waste plastic has been sorted and washed it is then fed in to large hoppers which drop the plastic products on to large grinding machines, the result is finely ground pieces of plastic which is bagged, weighed and labelled ready for dispatch to the injection moulding companies for use in mixed runs with new plastic.
To sum up, any reduction in consumption of new raw materials can only be good for the environment but if you are involved in plastic manufacturing and are considering the merits of using recycled plastic materials then the benefits are three fold,
Many plastic manufacturers are already benefiting from the cost savings that can be made by adding a % of recycled or rGrade plastic pellets to their mix, be this injection or extrusion manufacturing processes the cost savings can be huge especially when a volume run is planned.
Add to this the benefits to the environment which you can promote on any marketing material, manufacturers who use recycled plastic send out the right message to their customers, surely this will only help boost sales and profits even further.