Most modern plastics are derived from natural materials such as crude oil, coal and natural gas with crude oil remaining the most important raw material for their production. Polymers are substances which are made up from many molecules which are formed into long chains. The differences in the way the chains bond cause the different properties in the different types of polymers.
Nearly all types of plastics can be recycled, however the extent to which they are recycled depends upon technical, economic and logistic factors. As a valuable and finite resource, the optimum recovery route for most plastic items at the ‘end-of-life’ is to be recycled, preferably back into a product that can then be recycled again and again and so on. The UK uses over 5 million tonnes of plastic each year of which an estimated 24% is currently being recovered or recycled.
In order to recycle efficiently however it is necessary to identify the different types of plastics commonly used. Here Hakkens deepens your knowledge base with some easy-to-understand explanations: