Sunday, December 17

Polymers And Plastics Research.

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Part 1:                          Plastics found in Bedroom

Plastic product

Recycling number

Abbreviation

Polymer name

Available in glass

Compact disk protector

6

PS

Polystyrene

Pen casing

5

PP

Polypropylene

White-out bottle

3

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride

Sun glasses

4

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

Glue stick container

3

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride

Printer Cartridge

5

PP

Polypropylene

Toy car shell

6

PS

Polystyrene

Glu pen

1

PET or PETE

Polyethylene terephthalate

USB casing

6

PS

Polystyrene

Internet cable

3

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride

Ruler

6

PS

Polystyrene

I-pod casing

7

Other

All other plastics

Carpet

4

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

Rain poncho

4

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

Vacuum cleaner casing

7

ABS

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

Scissor casing

2

HDPE

High density polyethylene

10 packet pen jacket

5

PP

Polypropylene

Portable Pump casing

6

PS

Polystyrene

Playstation 2 controller casing

7

other

All other plastics

Hand sanitiser

1

PET or PETE

Polyethylene terephthalate

Plastics found in Kitchen and Bathroom

Plastic product

Code

Abbreviation

Description

Available in glass

Lemon juice bottle

1

PET or PETE

Polyethylene terephthalate

Tooth brush protector

5

PP

Polypropylene

Shampoo bottle

2

HDPE

High density polyethylene

Dish washing liquid bottle

2

HDPE

High density polyethylene

Bread bag

4

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

Sandwichcontainer

6

PS

Polystyrene

Margarine tub

5

PP

Polypropylene

Milk bottle

2

HDPE

High density polyethylene

Frozen peas bag

4

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

Aspirin bottle

6

PS

Polystyrene

Pipes

3

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride

Ketchup bottle

5

PP

Polypropylene

Meat tray

6

PS

Polystyrene

Grocery bags

4

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

Juice bottle

2

HDPE

High density polyethylene

Plastic cup

6

PS

Polystyrene

Peanut butter

1

PET or PETE

Polyethylene terephthalate

Food packaging bags

3

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride

 Roll-on deodorant

2

HDPE

High density polyethylene

Toothbrush

7

Other

All other plastics

Tally of how many products found for each code

Codes

Tally

PET or PETE

4

HDPE

6

PVC

5

LDPE

6

PP

6

PS

9

Other

4

Part 2:

(a)

What does the council do to recycle household rubbish?

There are six processes that recyclable materials go through which are:

 1. Products in plastic contains, wrapping etc… are bought and consumed. Paper and packaging are then deposited in the recycling bin provided by the Territory Municipal Services.

2.  The recycling trucks take your domestic recycling items once every two weeks and your rubbish once a week.

3.  The recycling trucks transport the collected items to the Materials Recovery Facility at Hume.

4.  The recyclable materials e.g. shampoo bottles, fizzy drink bottles and a variety more plastics are sorted using a range of mechanical and manual processes into clean product stream.

5.  The individual products of paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, steel and aluminium cans are stored and after that they are separately transported interstate to reprocessing factories.

6.   At the reprocessing factories the materials are recycled back into new products which can be used over again.

What does the council do to recycle Plastics?

Collection

Many people going through their garbage are recycling plastic products and other recyclable products. Businesses that utilise plastic in their standard processes keep plastic items for recycling such as: ink cartridges, plastic buckets and etc… Mass collection procedures occur every day all over the world as citizens become more conscious of the significance of recycling, particularly a non-biodegradable material like plastic.

Sorting

Presently plastics have to be sorted into six different groups before they can be recycled as they are different substances, although they are all called plastics.

The small numbers bordered with arrows are called resin identification codes. They identify the sort of plastic that an item is produced from. These numbers are intended to assist customers whether and how to recycle different plastic products generated from households.

The resin code identification system was created to satisfy recyclers’ requirements while providing manufacturers a dependable, standardised system that could be used nationally.

There are six main codes that classify the type of plastic a product. Each type of plastic is used for a specific plastic product. The various types of codes, their names and applications can be seen below.

If the different types of plastics were liquefied together, they would not combine as they are made of diverse substances. Each plastic item should have a numeral on it to classify it for categorization. For example fizzy drink bottles are classified by a number 1 or PET/E.

Pulverising

After the plastics are sorted, they get grounded up or shredded by enormous machines. This procedure is problematic as the plastic is not cut easily and is razor-sharp to the cutting blades. The blades get blunted rapidly and have to be replaced a few times a day.

Cleansing

The plastic shreds go through a cleaning process that can become rather difficult as there are substances that contaminate the procedure such as: glue from labels, filth and oil from food goods that can alter the final product if it is not removed. A particular of detergents and rinses are used to organise the plastics for the next process.  

The environmental impact cleansing includes contamination of soils, aquifers and pollution of air.  By using chemical detergents, it is often necessary to utilize a variety of chemicals in order to effectively manage the cleaning process, adding complication and cost when compared to the more versatile solvents. Due to their rates of latent heat evaporation when compared to water, solvents are able to provide a quicker and more complete drying process than water-based methods. Through using sealed solvent degreasing units, factories are able to produce clean, dry parts in the most efficient manner.

Drying

Particular machines are designed to dry out plastic shreds prior to when they are pelletised (manufactured into pellets). Mainly the recycling facilities uses centrifugal (to separate the different plastics) spin cycles to decrease the moisture. A lot of precaution is taken with the stored shreds so they do not gather humidity by maintaining the storage area extremely dry.

Pellet process

Each of the different types of plastic shreds is treated similarly and quantities of plastics are extremely difficult to recycle in this procedure. The plastics that have gone through the shredding procedure are then deposited into machines that use pressure and high temperatures to condense the plastics into a solid that is then produced into pellets.

Reintroduction into Production

The pellets are then bought by manufacturers who use them for a variety of applications. The PET/E (number 1) are made into fibres and carpets, HDPE (number 2) are created into floor tiles and laundry bottles, PVC (number 3) are created into mats and flooring, although LDPE (number 4) can not be used in this process.

(b)                             What is the cost of recycling?

The cost to sort the recyclables at the Materials Recovery Facility in Hume is approximately $20 per tonne. Each home would contribute about half a tonne per year.

The cost to provide a bin and collect the contents of the bin is approximately $40 per household per annum.

Part 3:                                     Reflection

1. ACT Government provided a list of recyclable materials that should be placed in separate bins including the yellow bin and green bin:

  1. All plastic bottles, glass bottles, aluminium cans and steel, papers (eg junk mail, magazines, newspaper and office paper, etc…) need to be placed in the yellow bin.

  2. Other household wastes such as nappies to be disposed into the green bin.

  3. In addition, products such as hazardous materials containers, plastic bags, wire hangers, household furniture, pots and pans, and textiles (clothing) should be delivered to other facilities (e.g. charities) for re-use.

  4. Products such as bike tyres, metals and disused shoes are examples of those products that are difficult to make a decision to allocate into appropriate bins. 

ACT government has provided the list of recyclable as shown above materials that should be placed in the correct bin, many people are uncertain about where products go in the bin; this makes it exceptionally difficult for people to recycle.

I take significant effort to do environmentally friendly practices and I intend to help the community to conserve the environment by using good practices such as recycling that ultimately contribute to sustainable environmental solutions and also reusing paper which reduces using the resources of trees. 

An example of one of my friendly practices towards the environment, this weekend I helped my father to turn our vegetable garden’s dead plants and organic matter into compost through shredding of 35kg of plant materials and mixing it with soils (see photos of before and after composting operation, Figure 1a and Figure 1b). This is called organic recycling. Composts are a simple but efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  When organic waste decomposes (breaks down) in a landfill (an anaerobic environment) it releases the greenhouse gas methane as a by-product.  Composting can prevent this from occurring as well as providing you with nutrient-rich material                                 for your garden. 

(c) One of the issues that influence my decision to recycle rubbish and anything plastic is by the negative impact on the environment. An example of this is how plastic is deposited into the ocean where a lot of sea mammals eat the plastics and die. Research has been carried out all over the world to try and decompose plastic bags; many scientists had discovered that to decompose the plastic bags they would have to let two strains of bacteria called Pseudomonas and Sphingomonas. This would not be practical to place the bacteria in the ocean. Until there is a realistic solution we have to “reduce, reuse, recycle.” 

Another factor that influences my decision to recycle anything plastic or anything at school and home is that recycling is vital as it is assisting the environment by not discarding products which harm the environment and creatures. Recycling products that are bio-degradable (recyclable) can be produced into products that can be used again and it decreases global warming to an extent.

(d) One of the things I can do is toconsider ways on how I can generate less waste at home:  buying products with less packaging, buying more recycled-content products or reusing more materials. Secondly I can take my home practices to school by getting recycling bins in classrooms and outside so our school can be more environmentally friendly.

(e) My role in the community as far as recycling goes is to initiate campaigns in the community to reduce the use of recycling products such as plastic bags and fight the degradation of our environment. I can produce innovative ideas to the council on ways to persuade and inform the community about recycling and products that can be recycled such as television advertisements. This will increase the numbers of people recycling.

(f) People believe that just because they are one person, it does not make a difference whether they recycle or not. However, it makes an enormous difference. If you try recycling for one week, you will discover that you have barely got anything to throw away! Most of the products that you would be discarding in the bin can actually be recycled. For the majority of people, recycling is something that is quite simple for them to do, and with a little bit of work, you can make sure that you take advantage of how easy this who process can be. If you recycle, you are making a great difference.

(g) What more I will do as a result of my findings in this assignment isto reduce the use of plastic products, reuse plastic items for other applications such as flower pots for the garden and recycle any plastic products that I can not reuse. I will also be role models for other people so they can start recycling if they do not already because it is a vital process that helps the environment in many ways such as saving energy and reducing pollution.

Electronic

1. Buzzle Web Portal: Intelligent Life on the Web, [Online], Available: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/recycling.html 7May 2009.

2. “Plastics Division : resin identification codes”,Americanchemistry.com : Chemistry is essential2living – The American Chemistry Council, [Online], Available:  http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_plastics/doc.asp?CID=1102&DID=4644 13May 2009.

3. “Recycle – Reduce – Reuse”,42explore: Thematic Pathfinders for All Ages, [Online], Available: http://42explore.com/recycle.htm 4May 2009.

4. “Recycling Codes”,History of Chemistry – Chemical Heritage Foundation, [Online], http://www.chemheritage.org/EducationalServices/faces/poly/readings/rec.htm 7May 2009.

5. “Recycling Facts You Should Know About”,Recycle Your Day, [Online], Available: http://recycleyourday.com/recycling-facts-you-should-know-about/ 9May 2009.

6. “Territory and Municipal Services – Waste Facts and Advice”,Territory and Municipal Services-Homepage, [Online], Available: http://www.tams.act.gov.au/live/Recycling_and_Waste/factsheets 12 May 2009.

7. “Waste and recycling”,Environment, Water and Heritage (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts – DEWHA) – Home Page, [Online], Available: http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/waste/index.html 10 May 2009.

8. “Why Is Recycling Important?”,Natural & Renewable Energy Sources – Clean Energy Ideas, [Online], Available: http://www.clean-energy-ideas.com/recycle/why_is_recycling_important.html 4May 2009.

Print

1. Blashfield, Jean F, Recycling, Chicago: Childrens P, 1991.

2. Harlow, Rosie, Garbage and Recycling (Young Discoverers: Environmental Facts and Experiments), New York: Kingfisher, 2002.

3. Recycling and incineration evaluating the choices, Washington, D.C: Island P, 1990.

4. Wilcox, Charlotte, Recycling (Cool Science), Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2007.

“Recycle – Reduce – Reuse”,42explore: Thematic Pathfinders for All Ages, [Online], Available: http://42explore.com/recycle.htm 4May 2009.

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