How are Polypropylene Bags Recycled?

how long do polypropylene bags last
How Long Do Polypropylene Bags Last?
September 7, 2022
What are FLEDBAG® Products
What is a FLEDBAG® and How does it Work?
September 7, 2022
Show all

The call for the banning of plastic bags is happening on a national level around the globe, with South Africa already starting an inquiry into the impacts that a nationwide ban on polypropylene bags will have.

These bans are set to include the manufacture, importation, and the use of plastic shopping bags, and while there are many retailers such as Spar, Woolworths, and others that have introduced a no-plastic policy, we are still sitting with a significant number of plastic bags that must be disposed of correctly.

To avoid negative impacts to the South African economy and the plastic industry, which supports more than 60,000 livelihoods, the recycling of polypropylene bags is a lot more feasible than completely banning them altogether.

Recycling not only helps the environment, but it helps to create employment in both the informal and the formal sectors, benefiting the South African economy overall.

Plastic shopping bags offer a range of advantages and this boosts the reason for recycling and reusing them. Plastic bags can be reintroduced into packaging, saving organisations money and increasing their lifespan. Read more on how are polypropylene bags recycled? Trunel Bags is a leading supplier of Plastic Bags Johannesburg. We also offer secondhand bulk bags as well as plastic sheeting for sale.

Curbside Recycling

Curbside recycling of plastic is not possible because plastic bags, plastic films, bubble wrap, and many other plastics cannot be recycled in a conventional way such as tins, paper, glass, and other materials. The reason for this is that the materials recovery facilities (MRFs) have not been designed to extract plastic out of the conventional recycling stream.

Because of this, plastics that enter the MRF can clog the sorting equipment and reduce the lifespan of machines. This can slow operations and put the safety of workers at risk to extract the stray plastic from the machine.

MRF equipment has undergone testing to determine whether they could eventually accept plastic bag recycling done the line, but it will still take some time before this can become common practice.

Advantages of Recycling Polypropylene Plastic Bags

If polypropylene and other plastics cannot be recycled curbside, how can you recycle them and keep the bags from ending up in landfills, rivers, oceans, and other areas?

Recycling for Individuals

For those who want to do their part toward the environment, several firms collect plastic products from certain collection points in most cities and towns.

Many grocery stores also provide recycling bins for the disposal of difficult materials, which is one of the best options for individuals. When you go to do your shopping, you can take your polypropylene bags and other items and dispose of them correctly.

Some steps to follow before you take your bags in include:

  • Consider reusing the bag by lining dustbins, collecting garbage, wrapping delicate items in the bag, and reusing them for groceries before they enter the recycling process.
  • Collect as many bags as possible and keep a collection bin in your house. This way, they can easily be compacted and disposed of.
  • Clean the bags after you have collected them and make sure that there are no items in the bags such as receipts, crumbs, or stickers. The presence of these will contaminate the bag load.
  • Ensure that the bag is recyclable by looking for a #2 or #4 plastic symbol. This symbol is typically found on the front or the bottom of the bag and indicates that the bag is made from recyclable material.

How to Recycle Polypropylene Bags Correctly

Most modern plastic bags are made from petroleum products and natural gas, with non-compostable plastic bags taking up to 1,000 years to decompose completely.

Polyprop bags are not biodegradable but photodegrade instead, meaning that they are broken down into smaller toxic parts. If these bags are not disposed of correctly, they can end up in water sources that will lead them to the ocean.

There are more than 300 million plastic bags that end up in the Atlantic Ocean alone, posing significant threats to several species of marine animals. Even though these bags are plastic, they cannot be recycled conventionally as other products are recycled.

This is because these bags cause equipment used at recycling plants to jam, which slows the process and the equipment.

Check the bag for a #2 or #4 stamp

These types of polyprop bags are typically accepted for recycling and the type of stamp indicates what the bag is made of. If the bag does not have a stamp, check its consistency.

If the bags can be torn easily, they can be thrown in the trash – such as food wrappers or the cling wrap that lettuce is wrapped in. However, most plastic bags are made from high-density polyethene and have the #2 symbol whereas low-density bags have a #4 symbol.

Clear the debris from the bag

Check the bag for receipts, crumbs, or anything that may have been left from what the bag was used for. Turn the bag upside down and inside out to ensure that it is empty.

Make sure that all polybags are clean and dry before they are recycled. Before throwing plastic bags away, try to find as many ways as possible for the bag to be reused before throwing it away or recycling it.

Place the bag in a recycling bin if it goes to an appropriate facility or find out where the bags can be dropped off

There are major cities that have the appropriate recycling programs where polyprop bags are recycled properly. However, in smaller areas and towns, where such initiatives are not implemented, people may have to contact local facilities to find out where the closest drop-off area is.

The plastic bags are chipped into pellets where they can either be used to produce new bags, or they are shipped to companies that use recycled plastic to manufacture plastic lumber.

If you liked this article, you might also be interested in what is a polypropylene bag used for?

Comments are closed.

Trunel Bags