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Why White or Clear Plastics Are Easier to Recycle

Why White or Clear Plastics Are Easier to Recycle

If you've ever wondered why white or clear plastics seem to be more valuable and easier to recycle than their coloured counterparts, you're not alone. The colour of plastic can significantly impact its recyclability and subsequent value on the recycling market. In this blog, we'll explore the reasons behind this and discuss how making informed design choices can contribute to a more sustainable future.

The Recycling Process: From Blue Bin to New Product

When you dispose of plastics in the recycling bin, they are transported to a sorting facility. At this facility, plastics are separated by material and colour, then ideally sold to a manufacturer who will melt them down and create new products such as yoga pants or outdoor furniture.

White and Clear Plastics: High Demand and Versatility

White and clear plastics are considered the most valuable on the recycling market. When these plastics are melted down, they can be transformed into white, clear, or any other colour product. This versatility makes them highly sought after, as they can easily be repurposed for a wide range of applications. As a result, white and clear plastics fetch the highest prices and are most likely to be recycled.

Coloured Plastics: A Murky Future

Coloured plastics, on the other hand, face more challenges in the recycling process. When mixed together and melted down, they often produce a shade of brown. Since there isn't a way to lighten the colour and the demand for brown and black plastic is limited, these coloured plastics are less valuable and harder to sell. If no buyer can be found, they may end up in a landfill.

Black Plastics: The Recycling Dilemma

Black plastics pose a unique problem during the recycling process. Sorting facilities use UV detectors to separate plastics by color. However, black plastics are not UV detectible, which means they are categorized as contaminants and often end up in landfills.

Making Sustainable Design Choices: The Power of Colour

While single-use products are not ideal, they are gradually being phased out across the globe. In the meantime, there are many ways to make these products more sustainable and easier to recycle. By opting for white or clear plastics, manufacturers can ensure that their products have a better chance of being recycled and repurposed. This simple design choice can contribute to a greener future for all.

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