Cost Analysis of Plastic Recycling

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INTRODUCTION
Globally there has been a push for a greener, more environmentally friendly
atmosphere and one method of accomplishing this goal is plastic recycling
The purpose of group three’s study was to analyze the practice of plastic recycling by
• outlining the plastic recycling process
• listing the types of plastics that are or are not
recyclable
• Comparing different countries plastic recycling
regulations
• Analyzing the costs and benefits to society form
recycling plastic
2
PLASTIC RECYCLING
There are 7 different types of plastic
-PET or PETE commonly seen in water bottles and is frequently recycled
-HDPE commonly seen as milk cartons and is again frequently recycled
-PVC commonly seen as liquid laundry detergents and is less commonly accepted
by local recycling agents
-LDPE commonly seen used in trash bags
-PP commonly used in automobiles such as car battery casings
- PS Commonly seen in some packing foam
-O meaning “other” this is combination of the previously listed plastics
3
THE STAGES OF RECYCLING PLASTIC
1) The plastic has to be delivered to the recycling plant
2) Then the plastic has to be sorted accordingly because recycling mixed plastic will
create a poor quality product
3) Next begins the cleaning process. This is used to remove labels and other
impurities
4) Next is the shredding process
5) Then the shredding's are bagged and label to its exact specifications
6) Finally the plastic is melted into the form of pellets and used to manufacture
plastic products
4
PLASTIC RECYCLING IN THE UNITED STATES
•
0.8 tons of waste per person per year
•
34% of plastic consumption is currently being recycled
•
There is no federal plastic recycling law. Plastic recycling is implemented locally,
state by state
•
Plastic recycling is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
5
EUROPEAN UNION
•
6 tones of plastic waste generated per person per year
•
Waste Framework Directive first passed in 1991
•
2006 Directive put recycling on the table
•
2006 goal is to recycle 50% of all solid waste by 2020
•
The European Union’s legislation on plastic recycling was adopted by the United
Kingdom upon its introduction to the EU and is expected to surpass the United
States in total plastic recycling by 2020
6
CHINA’S PLASTIC IMPORTERS
•
Millions of tons of plastic have entered China’s ports since the start of 2008
•
Developed countries have been the biggest exporters of their plastics
•
Why does China need plastic waste?
•
Advantages to transporting the waste across oceans
7
DISADVANTAGES TO PLASTIC WASTE TRADE
•
United Kingdom
- Loss of plastic recycling industry
- “Open Loop” of plastics
- Increased pollution and port traffic
•
China
- Contamination of plastics
- Difficult to track movement and destination
8
EFFECTIVE REGULATIONS ON PLASTIC
IMPORTING BY THE GOVERNMENT
•
Prohibits borrowing or renting of solid waste import
•
Prohibits reselling of imported waste and it must be used by importing company
•
Must conduct the clearance through local customs
9
BENEFITS OF PLASTIC RECYCLING
Reduction in waste
• Plastics are very durable and its toughness is very useful and can be reshaped
for other uses
• For example plastic bottles can be turned into plastic straws
• Also due to plastics durability it takes at least a century for plastic to break
down in landfills or in water
• Therefore throwing away plastic after one use is very wasteful
 Additionally plastic recycling reduces oil consumption
 Plastic production is mainly used crude oil or natural gas
 One average to produce a standard 16 ounce water bottle one fourth of the
water bottle could be filled by the amount oil it takes to produce
 From Stanford University recycling center one ton of recycled plastic saves
16.3 barrels of oil
10
BENEFITS OF RECYCLING CONTINUED
•
Creation of Durable Products
• Recycling of plastics can provide an environmentally friendly source of material
for producing new products.
• For example, plastic bottles can be recycled to create new products such as,
park benches, plastic piping, carpeting, filler material for clothing or bedding,
playground equipment, toys, packaging material, grocery bags, or toothbrushes
• Another product that can be created by plastic recycling is plastic lumber.
• Plastic lumber is a 100% recyclable material made from recycled plastic in the
form of lumber.
• This is mostly used for outdoor decking, playgrounds, and park benches.
11
COSTS OF PLASTIC RECYCLING
High Costs of Plastic Recycling
• it costs $28 per ton to landfill waste compared with $147 a ton to recycle” (Black
2006).
• “For every ton of glass, plastic and metal that the truck delivers to a private
recycler, the city currently spends $200 more than it would spend to bury the
material in a landfill.”
• The costs of recycling outweigh the costs of its counterpart, landfills
• Selling recyclable goods brings in $2.45 million. However, the cost of collecting
and sorting these recycled materials plus interest payments on the recycling
facility costs the county over $3 million (Black 1006).
• “According to the Seattle Times, each ton recycled would cost the city $2,600 but
save Seattle $600 in financial and environmental costs.”
12
COSTS OF PLASTIC RECYCLING
Creation of new waste
• Water waste, gas waste, and solid waste
• Water waste is mainly created from the cleaning process that is required in the
recycling of plastics
• Gas waste is created during the plastic recycling process because of the use
of high temperatures
• The organic gases released due to the heat will generate hydrocarbons,
benzene and other harmful gases.
• Solid waste is created in multiple ways
• Some coarse plastics contain many papers, soil particles and other debris that
are separated during the recycling process
• Sludge from the cleaning stage is also a main contributor to the solid waste
• As well as non-recyclable plastics that are brought to the recycling plant
13
QUESTIONS ON PLASTIC RECYCLING?
14
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