Plastics: How much is your recycling worth?

How much is your plastic recycling worth? ReCircle’s Daniel Milne looks at the different options we have for recycling plastics.

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Video transcript:

I’ve been investigating the best way to recycle materials in our homes, and today I’m looking at plastic.

Now in here we have the three most common types of plastic PET, HDPE and PP.

Now the issue with our current recycling systems is that they’re co-mingled - everything gets mixed in together, and our materials lose their purity, and therefore their value. If we can keep them separated from the start then they’re worth 5 times more to manufacturers. This is called closed-loop recycling and its where this gets turned back into this.

To give you some idea of the value downcycled PET is worth $150-200 per tonne whereas closed-loop recycled PET is worth $700-1000 per tonne.

So what happens when I put these plastics into my recycling bin? Well It’s definitely the easiest option but its not the most effective. Everything gets mixed in together - glass, plastic, cardboard etc and separating it is nearly impossible.

As a result 80% of the plastic in your recycling bin goes to landfill, 15% is downcycled into carpet base or packaging, and only 5% is closed-loop recycled.

What about if you make the trip to a bottle deposit machine. You’ll find it only takes certain types of bottles and everything still gets mixed and has to be separated. Now you get a bit of money in your pocket for your efforts which is great but 40% of the plastic here still goes to landfill, with only 60% separated for recycling and a fraction of this actually closed-loop recycled.

Surely these two ineffective solutions aren’t the only way to recycle. Well thanks to ReCircle Recycling there’s an exciting new solution.

The ReCircle appliance has sensors that prevent you from mixing the plastics. It washes the plastic, flakes it and stores it separately. The company then collects and delivers it to manufacturers in its purest form, so it can be 100% closed-loop recycled.

So join us and check out the ReCircle crowdfunding page. Help us build an appliance that transforms the way we reuse our materials and recycle in our homes.