Hi! We're going to talk about recycling plastic the 40Forest way. Since 2020 we've been working on a productive way of recycling all the trash we collect in our workplace. We do our recycling carefully to ensure we don't end up with a lot of waste. Therefore our way of recycling can be a little more intense. Let's dive into it!
First a little more schooling about plastic. Plastic can be found in a lot of types that can diversify in density, hardness, and melting temperature. If you look at a soda bottle, the bottle itself is made from PET, the nozzle is made from HDPE and the wrapping is made from LDPE. So one product contains 3 different types of plastic.
If you'd like to recycle this bottle, the easiest way of doing this is to throw it in a shredder and melt it into something new. That's what you can call 'Down-cycling' and this method can cause some problems. Adding different types of plastic together can decrease the quality of the product, and it would be harder to separate the plastic types in the future. Knowing this.. we at 40Forest are working very carefully when separating these plastic types.
The first thing we do when we get plastic trash is check it for any organic or electric trash before washing it. After the cleaning process, we carefully separate the plastic into different types. To do that we normally check the product if it has any markings on it. If not, we look at the features the plastic has and if we can find similarities with other plastics that do have a marking. If we can't determine which plastic-type it is we put it away for another project. After the separation of the plastic types, we also can choose to separate them by color.
After that, we go to the shredder. This machine has been a lifesaver for us. In the first months, we had to cut the plastic ourselves and that resulted in a lot of sore muscles. Our Shredder can shred up to 20 kilos per hour and creates small grains of plastic that can fit in our machine easily.
By now we have created a new form of raw material from the plastic waste we've collected. This can now be used to create new products. With our self-made injection machine, we can create every product we have a mold off. First, we insert the grains of plastic inside the injection machine which heats it up to the melting temperature of the plastic type. After a few minutes, the molten plastic is ready to be injected into the mold and become a new product that can be used for art or just for holding your cup.
So now you know how our process works. It might be a little bit more work, but our outcome is products that can last a long time and can be recycled if it breaks. By doing this we can keep our community clean and be a better solution than our current waste disposal.
Thank you for reading our blog and let us know what you think in the comments!
- Camiel from 40Forest