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Have you ever wondered how plastic is recycled?

First, the bags are taken back to a Material Recycling Facility or MRF. Here they are put on a conveyor belt and separated according to the type of material. After this, a series of baths are used to separate the labels from the bottles and take out the lids. Then they’re put through a shredder which turns them into plastic flakes. These plastic flakes are then melted down into pellets before being recycled into plastic bottles.

However, at this point plastic bottles can also be turned into polyester. The flakes are put through a large, heated screw and pushed through a sieve to be turned into cloth. This cloth is then turned into fluff which is spun into thread to make clothes.

So there you have it, when you’re done with your next plastic bottle and you recycle it, now you know what’ll happen.

If you’d like to see the process for yourself, take a look at this video from National Geographic: How Plastic Bottles Are Recycled Into Polyester

Emily Morrey-McGrath


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