All posts tagged recycling plastics chicago

Ideas for Successful Plastic Recycling in Your Workplace

Plastic Recycling Chicago

How to Begin a Successful Plastic Recycling Program

Plastic recycling in Chicago workplaces is more important than ever. Here are some helpful ideas to keep plastics out of landfills through a successful plastic recycling program.


Recycling Plastic Is Serious On Many Levels


With landfills hitting capacity and toxins from plastics seeping into our food and drinking water, recycling is the solution to ending up like Pixar’s Wall-E or worse. But in 2009 alone, over 13 million tons of plastic were used and disposed of, and only 7 percent of that 13 million was recycled. You can see how much recyclable waste your business generates with this recycling calculator.


This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed and we can start by recycling in the places where we use the most disposable plastic, in the workplace. Here are some ideas on how to successfully recycle in your workplace.


Get the Proper Receptacles

Get a designated receptacle for your plastic recycling in Chicago. Make sure that it’s clearly marked so employees don’t throw trash in it. Make sure you have a service, like CRI, to pick up your plastic.


Generate a Workplace Campaign

In order to let your colleagues in Chicago know that you’re making an effort to recycle, start a campaign. Put out flyers, send emails and create incentives to continue to recycle. Offer an office party to the group with the most recycled items or give a gift, like a recycled fleece or other recycled items.


Look for the PET or PETE Number

Those chasing arrows aren’t just recycling emblem, the number inside the emblem indicates the type of plastic used to make the bottle and therefore how recyclable it is. Water bottles are mostly made of Number 1 PET or polyethylene terephthalate, which is sometimes abbreviated as “PETE” as well Number 1 PET is generally a recyclable plastic, but because recycling centers vary in the types of plastic they can process, you should contact your local municipality to determine the plastics accepted for recycling in your area. Once you’ve found that out, place only bottles with those designated numbers in your recycling bins. Adding bottles with other numbers just adds to the workload of the recycling municipalities.


Clean and Flatten Your Bottles

First you need to rinse the bottles and remove the labels. Then place them in your recycling receptacle. Remove the lids. Use them for art projects or throw them away, because the lids are made of a different type of plastic and it can contaminate the recycling process. Flatten water bottles before adding them to the bin.


Buy or Bring Recyclable Items

Before you buy, always check the number on the bottom of the container to make sure your municipality can recycle it. If not, look for a recyclable alternative. The arrows on the bottom of the bottle don’t necessarily mean the item is recyclable. All plastic containers have the triangular, chasing arrow emblem, however the number indicates if the item can be recycled.


Use Refillable Bottles Instead of Plastic

The EPA encourages consumers encourages us to use or buy products that contribute to the solid waste problem. Relying on reusable items reduces toxic waste from production and disposal. It saves money for communities, businesses and consumers, as well. Stainless steel water bottles are a great alternative to disposable plastic containers. They are durable and lessen the problem of waste. But if you have to take a water bottle to work, please recycle.


Your Recycling Efforts Shouldn’t Stop Here


These ideas are just the beginning, research and find out more ways to successfully recycle not only plastic, but paper and metal as well. You’ll be keeping your workplace waste out of landfills and keep the cash generated by renewable resources in your community.


To learn more about starting a recycling program in your workplace, contact Combined Resources, Inc. at 855-782-8490. Learn more about our plastic recycling services, here.


Meeting The Challenges Of Plastic Recycling In Chicago

Meeting The Challenges Of Plastic Recycling In ChicagoThink nothing lasts forever? If you believe that’s true, you probably aren’t thinking about plastic. Many plastics, whether they are hard varieties used in consumer and office electronics or softer ones used in plastic water bottles and margarine tubs or plastic bags, do not decompose when they hit the landfill. Breaking, distorting, or ripping plastic items may reduce their function but not make them any more environmentally friendly. Some discards, such as bags, do considerable damage when they are disposed of improperly, often finding their way into oceans and strangling wildlife. Planning ahead for plastic recycling in Chicago and around the country is an important reality of modern life that calls for the expertise of the green waste disposal experts at CRI.


Plastics Are A Resource Hog


Aside from disposability issues, plastics production is a resource hog that consumes about 4% of world production of oil and gas in its ingredients and an equivalent amount in additional energy to manufacture. About half of all the material produced goes into disposable items such as packaging and disposable consumer items, 20 to 25% into long-term infrastructure items such as pipes, structural materials, wire coatings etc., and the remaining balance into more durable consumer applications, such as furniture, electronics, and vehicles. Not only does the material consume large quantities of resources, but it does not represent sustainable use since so much is intended for one-time or short-term use.


Problems Of Plastic Recycling In Chicago


Plastic recycling becomes complex because not all plastic is the same. In attempting to recycle it, all types of plastics can’t be mixed efficiently. There are seven identified types of plastic, based on the kinds of polymers that it contains, which bear a recycling symbol and number. Much plastic, such as that used for picnic ware and utensils distributed at fast food restaurants, is unmarked. Even though plastics reclaimers use infrared (NRI) technology to identify types of plastic, consumers often discard utensils without the thought of recycling.


Types Of Plastics


The seven types of plastics include the following:


  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)
  • Characteristics: Clarity, strength, toughness, barrier to gas and moisture
  • Used for: Soft drink, water and salad dressing bottles; peanut butter and jam jars


  1. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Characteristics: Stiffness, strength, toughness, resistance to moisture, permeability to gas
  • Used for: Milk, juice and water bottles; trash and retail bags


  1. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Characteristics: Versatility, clarity, ease of blending, strength, toughness
  • Used for: Juice bottles; cling films; PVC piping


  1. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Characteristics: Ease of processing, strength, toughness, flexibility, ease of sealing, barrier to moisture
  • Used for: Frozen food bags; squeezable bottles, e.g. honey, mustard; cling films; flexible container lids


  1. Polypropylene (PP)                                           
  • Characteristics: Strength, toughness, resistance to heat, chemicals, grease and oil, versatile, barrier to moisture
  • Used for: Reusable microwaveable ware; kitchenware; yogurt containers; margarine tubs; microwaveable disposable take-away containers; disposable cups and plates


  1. Polystyrene (PS)
  • Characteristics: Versatility, clarity, easily formed
  • Used for: Egg cartons; packing peanuts; disposable cups, plates, trays and cutlery; disposable take-away containers


  1. Other (often Polycarbonate or ABS)
  • Characteristics: Dependent on polymers or combination of polymers
  • Used for: Beverage bottles; baby milk bottles; electronic casing


In the recycling process, plastic is separated by type, shredded and cleaned to remove impurities, and mixed with virgin plastic and reused in industry. Some types of plastics marked by number present challenges because they leach chemicals onto other items, and finding new approaches to plastic recycling is crucial. Currently over 86% is discarded in landfills, and efforts to recycle fall far behind those for newspaper, corrugated fiberboard, and other disposables.


What Is Your Plan For Plastic Recycling In Chicago?


Help change these dismal statistics with a plan for plastic recycling! Contact Chicago-based recycling company Combined Resources to help you design an eco-conscious waste management and plastic recycling plan for your company.

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