Australians now see recycling as a way of life, committing to high levels of recycling. It is even more motivating when people understand how much energy is saved through their recycling efforts and the actual impacts upon the environment. Using recycled plastic to produce plastic products saves approximately 88% of energy compared to producing plastic from the raw materials of oil and gas. And what do they produce?
- garden edging
- sign posts
- compost bins
- speed humps
- plant pots
- picnic tables and park benches
- carpet fibre clothing
- automotive parts
- paint brushes
- plastic bottles
Using recycled glass to make more glass products saves 30% of energy. 1 tonne of recycled glass saves 1.1 tonnes of the raw materials sand, limestone and soda ash. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled over and over again indefinitely, even millions of times. Refillable glass bottles are great savers of energy, using 19,000 BTUs of energy, compared to 38,000 BTUs for throwaway bottles. I recycled glass bottle saves enough energy to power four hours of an 100 watt electric light. Making aluminium cans from recycled aluminium saves a massive 95% of energy. One recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours or light a 100 watt bulb for 3.5 hours. As well as cans, aluminium is also recycled into aeroplanes and cars. Recycling steel makes some significant environmental savings, such as 74% savings in energy, 86% reduction in air pollution, 90% savings in virgin materials, 40% reduction in water use, 76% reduction in water pollution and 97% reduction in mining wastes. And what are steel cans and steel scrap made into?
- structural steel
- bolts and nuts
- coat hangers
- steel cans
Kartaway support these recycling efforts and run two public Recycling Depots in Australia, one in Melbourne and one in Adelaide.
Plastic became very popular in modern life during the 1950s and has become a major material used in manufacturing, building and packaging throughout western civilisation. Since its adoption however, it has become a major contributor to landfill and, as plastic does not break down for hundreds of years, it became a major problem. The recycling of plastics began in earnest during the 1980s. Government programs, consumer education and the development of industrial processes to transform discarded plastic into useful materials have all contributed to less plastic going to landfill.
The introduction of PETE and HDPE plastics in the 80’s and 90’s transformed the recycling effort. This type of plastic is able to be recycled and carries the identifiable recyclable logo of three arrows depicting a triangle.
There are more steps required in recycling plastics than in recycling paper, glass and metals. Plastic requires the extraction of dyes, fillers and other additives. The first step in recycling plastic is to sort it by the type of resin used in its structure, of which there are seven basic types, and sometimes it is also sorted by colour. The second step is to chop the plastic into small pieces, then clean it to remove debris and small residue. It is then melted down and compressed into pellets, these are called nurdles. The nurdles are transported to plastic processing plants and introduced into the manufacturing process.
Kartaway are a leading recycling and waste management company in Australia. They are able to recycle most waste collected, including plastics. Providing bins and skips to households, builders, body corporates, shopping complexes, multi storey complexes and educational facilities they sort and recycle collected waste. Kartaway also operate Recycling Depots for the public in Adelaide and Melbourne.