The Battle Against Plastic Waste: Effective Recycling Solutions for Businesses

Plastic is an incredibly versatile and useful material, but its prevalence has led to a global plastic waste crisis. With growing pressure to tackle this issue, it’s crucial for companies to explore effective packaging recycling solutions. 

We explore the problem of plastic waste and look at practical strategies for businesses to recycle plastic waste and manage it effectively.

The Problem of Plastic Waste

Plastic waste is a major concern worldwide, with the UK alone producing over 5 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. The majority of plastic waste ends up in landfills, where it can take hundreds of years to decompose. 

Worse still, it may find its way into the environment, polluting our oceans and harming wildlife. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

The scale of the problem is immense, with only 9% of the plastic ever produced being recycled. This highlights the urgent need for businesses to adopt sustainable practices and prioritise plastic waste recycling.

The Plastic Recycling Process

The recycling of plastic waste plays a crucial role in mitigating plastic pollution. There are two main types of plastic recycling:

1. Mechanical Recycling

This is the most common method. It involves shredding, melting, and remoulding plastics into new products. Mechanical recycling is suitable for many types of plastic packaging, like bottles and containers. But, it can degrade the quality of the recycled material over multiple cycles.

2. Chemical Recycling

This method breaks down plastics into their chemical building blocks. These components form the raw materials for new plastic products or other applications. While still relatively new, chemical recycling technology makes it possible to recycle mixed plastic waste and other difficult-to-recycle materials like plastic films and flexibles.

How Can Businesses Effectively Manage Their Plastic Waste?

To truly tackle the plastic waste crisis, businesses must prioritise recycling and recovery rates. Here’s how they can achieve this:

1. Conduct a Waste Audit

Assess the types and amounts of plastic waste your business generates. This will help you identify areas where you can reduce or eliminate plastic use. You can then develop a targeted plastic waste plan and set realistic goals to reduce plastic waste in your company.

2. Use a Segregation System

Proper segregation of plastic waste at the source is essential for efficient recycling. Use clearly labelled recycling bins and containers to separate different plastic types (e.g., PET and PVC) and rigid and flexible plastics. 

3. Educate and Engage Employees on Recycling Plastic

Here’s how to foster a culture of sustainability within your organisation:

  • Regularly educate employees about the importance and benefits of recycling through training sessions. 
  • Use internal communication channels to promote awareness campaigns.
  • Create incentives for employees who actively participate in waste reduction and recycling initiatives.

4. Rethink Plastic Packaging

The most effective way to tackle plastic waste is to avoid it altogether. Businesses can explore alternative packaging materials, like:

  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Wood
  • Bioplastics made from renewable resources

5. Prioritise Recyclable Plastic Items

When it’s unavoidable, choose plastic types that are readily recyclable in the UK. Common examples are HDPE (used in plastic bottles) and PET (found in food and beverage containers). Familiarise yourself with plastic recycling symbols to make informed choices.

6. Invest in Innovative Recycling Technologies

Technological advancements offer new opportunities to manage waste effectively. Here are some tech-driven strategies to consider:

  • Smart bins: These bins use sensors to monitor waste levels and notify when they need emptying.
  • Recycling apps: Use mobile apps to track recycling rates, educate employees, and provide information on what can be recycled.
  • Blockchain for transparency: Adopt blockchain technology for transparency and traceability in the recycling system. 

7. Boost Recycling Rates with Recycling Facilities

Work closely with reputable plastic recycling centres or companies that offer tailored services for your specific waste streams. For example, they may provide collection, processing, and recycling services. Experienced partners like Packaging Reuse and Disposal Services have the expertise and equipment to process various types of plastic efficiently.

What Are the Benefits of Better Plastic Waste Management?

Improving plastic waste handling and recycling offers multiple advantages:

  • Sustainability: Recycling reduces waste, litter, and your environmental footprint. It can also enhance your reputation with customers and stakeholders.
  • Cost savings: Better waste management reduces purchasing, disposal, and clean-up costs. Selling plastic waste can even generate revenue.
  • Compliance: Stricter regulations require responsible handling and financing of plastic recycling. Getting ahead now means avoiding risks down the track.
  • Customer expectations: Consumers increasingly demand that companies act responsibly towards the environment. Communicating your recycling initiatives helps meet these expectations.

Beat the Battle Against Plastic Waste with Packaging Reuse

Packaging Reuse and Disposal Services is committed to helping businesses with their sustainability journeys. We offer comprehensive services for managing and recycling plastic waste. These include purchasing single-source and co-mingled polymers, containerised segregation, and waste collection. 

We work with our customers who have material contaminated with hazardous and non-hazardous materials to ensure we have a process in place for increasing the  percentage of recycling and reuse, which is now over 90% by tonnes as a business. We use our business expertise to ensure and enhance environmental performance of our customers.

Our expertise extends to recycling packaging materials such as paper, cardboard, wood, and metals. We also specialise in IBC container reconditioning, reducing the demand for virgin plastics.

By partnering with Packaging Reuse, you gain reliable solutions for responsible waste management. Contact us today to learn how our sustainable plastic waste management solutions can drive real change.