How are Plastic Bottles Recycled? - Regional Recycling

How are Plastic Bottles Recycled?

Making products with recycled plastic uses about 1/3 less energy than making new plastic from scratch. It also leads to keeping plastics out of our waste streams and landfills. Plastic containers can take a really long time to break down, if they even break down at all. This is because of the way the molecules are constructed. It was designed to be tough and durable. That means recycling it is the only responsible way to dispose of plastic. By keeping non-bio-degradable material out of our waste streams, we fill a critical need in preserving our planet.

British Columbians were responsible for recycling over 10,000 tons of plastic bottles in 2012. This is an impressive amount, as much as 2500 Orcas! However, estimates are that is less than half of the plastic bottles used.

So How are Plastic Bottles Recycled?

  1. Customers bring their plastic bottles to any of our Bottle Depots where we pay a Full Deposit.
  2. We sort the plastic bottles manually into bags by type.
  3. We then ship them to a plastic reprocessing plant where they begin the recycling process.
  4. An intense wash process cleans the bottles, removing labels & contaminates.
  5. Once the cleaning is complete, the bottles go through a process that shreds the plastic into tiny pieces. They heat the plastic pieces and then press them into tiny pellets.
  6. Finally, manufacturers use the plastic pellets to make new products like bottles, liquid containers, packaging and more.

Did you know that resin codes identify plastic type but not recyclability?

Plastic bottles are made of different types of plastic identified by resin codes. These codes are numbers inside a triangle located on the bottom of each container. Bottles may look alike but may not be the same because each resin consists of a very specific chemical molecules. Some of these resins mix well, but for those that don’t, recycling them together is like mixing oil and water. If incompatible resins together, it results in unusable low-quality plastic.