HOW WE DO IT

The science behind our recycling

Chemical-based recycling is exactly what the name suggests. We use various chemicals to efficiently recycle plastic. Whereas normal heat recycling decreases the usability of the plastic for the reasons previously listed, chemical recycling tackles all of those issues.

 

The science of it basically boils down to the fact the plastics are made of repeating sets of long molecules assembled in a chain. These are called "polymers". Have you heard that word before? That's because all plastics are polymers, consisting of many (poly) individual base molecules. These long chains of molecules are made of even smaller base molecules, also called "monomers". The term "mono" means "one". Depending on the plastic, there can be anywhere between a few dozen of these monomers in a polymer, up to 250,000!

The science of heat processing:

Plastics are typically separated into two categories: thermoplastic and thermoset. Thermoset is plastic that, once formed, cannot be melted and reformed, like silicone. Thermoplastics are any plastic that can be melted and reshaped, like the plastic found in water bottles and milk jugs. All of the plastics that we will be recycling are thermoplastics. 

Since we will only be talking about thermoplastics, they will be referred to simply as "plastic" from this point forward.

When heated, plastic will melt. Once melted, plastic can be shaped into various forms. When plastic is melted, and color or contaminants found in the plastic will stay there, even while melted, because they may be attached to the plastic on a molecular level. Melting also degrades plastic. The longer the molecular chain a plastic has, the stronger it is. When plastic is melted, cracks and breaks may form in this chain. If heat recycled multiple times, it can destroy the functionality of plastic to the point where it gets thrown into the landfill as its quality is so low that it can't be used. This is why heat recycling is not true recycling. It only delays the plastic from being tossed in the trash.

Why is chemical recycling better?

The science of chemical processing:

When plastic is recycled chemically, the bonds between the chains of polymers break, leaving a whole bunch of monomers, and separating the colors and contaminants from the plastic monomer as they are no longer bonded with the molecular chain, as it no longer exists. This monomer is actually what is used to make plastic in the first place, so it can be manufactured into near-new, high-quality plastic, keeping it out of the landfill, hypothetically, forever. Since the color is removed, it can be dyed whatever color is needed, or it can be left its natural clear or white color!

It's important, but why?

With this process, the initial waste, which can be obtained from virtually any landfill, can be turned into 100% reusable, near-new plastic. This plastic is can then be turned into literally any plastic product that uses its type of resin! For example: our reusable bottles!

All of this happens for a reason, and you can read all about it HERE.

Monomers