The many facets and avenues within the plastic recycling and reprocessing industry mean that there are variations when it comes to the terminology used. While those that are at the beginning of their plastic recycling solutions may not be familiar with the language used at all.
We strive to be transparent in all that we do. This glossary has been created with the purpose of providing an accessible and comprehensive dictionary of both every day and technical, industry language and phrases that enable clear, transparent communication between parties, securing understanding and peace of mind.
Our glossary is full of useful and concise information, and terms are described simply, but with sufficient supporting information.
For further information, you might find it useful to browse the articles in our blog to learn more about the plastic recycling industry and the protocols we have in place.
|98/2, 95/5, 90/10, 80/20, 60/40
|95/5, 90/10, 80/20, 60/40
|Grading method of plastic scrap, especially LDPE Film, PET Bottles & HDPE Bottles. Proportion of material to contamination and/or colour. E.g. 98/2 = 98% Natural and 2% Colour or 80/20 = 80% Natural and 20% Colour
|Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
|The most important mechanical properties of ABS are impact resistance and toughness. Typically used in injection moulding and vacuum forming. Can have Acrylic (PMMA) capping to enhance surface gloss in vacuum forming.
|Heat densified soft plastics or plastic fibres into 4-10mm sized pieces using an agglomerator. It looks like a small ball of crumbs or popcorn if produced on older machines. New model machines produce a rough pellet shape. The output material is only as good as the material fed into the process. There is no filtering or cleaning. It is produced to ensure a continuous flow into an extruder.
|Machine that densifies soft plastics (film or fibre) into small balls (crumb/popcorn) or rough pellets to enable consistent and continuous flow into an extruder. Produces heat in the form of friction between the soft plastics and the rotating blade in the agglomerator to bind the material together. It contains no filter, cleaning or degassing mechanism, therefore the infeed quality must be very high for this process to produce good material. Frequently used to process manufacturing scrap.
|Large cube of densified material. It is formed by putting loose plastics (or other materials) into a chamber and applying hydraulic pressure to press them together into a block or cube.
Bale sizes and weights can vary greatly depending on the machinery used - from 50kg up to 1000kg. To transport light weight materials (e.g. LDPE Film or Cardboard) they must be densified first to reduce costs.
|Bulk Bag, Bulka Bag, Super Sack, Jumbo Bag, FIBC (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container)
|Woven Polypropylene (PP) Bag used to store recycled plastics. Large sizes are 90cm x 90cm x 190cm (used at our factory) and can hold up to 1.5MT. Smaller sizes are available. Big Bags have a variety of uses such as Chemicals, Building Materials, Food and more.
|Commonly used to make bottles and cans. The blow moulding machine is based on a standard extruder barrel and screw assembly to plasticise the polymer. The molten polymer is led through a right angle and through a die to emerge as a hollow (usually circular) pipe section called a parison.
When the parison has reached a sufficient length a hollow mould is closed around it. The mould mates closely at its bottom edge thus forming a seal. The parison is cut at the top by a knife prior to the mould being moved sideways to a second position where air is blown into the parison to inflate it to the shape of the mould. After a cooling period the mould is opened and the final article is ejected. PP, HDPE, PET & PVC are the most common polymers used
|Identifying plastic type or contaminants by applying a flame directly to the material in a controlled environment. By looking at the flame colour, smoke colour, burning speed, sound and look after extinguishing you can identify plastics.
|The circular economy represents an alternative, more sustainable model to the traditional linear economy. A linear model follows the path of make, use, then dispose. In contrast, a circular economy keeps resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their service life.
|The process of recovering scrap material and recycling it back into the same product again.
|A Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router is a computer-controlled cutting machine related to the hand-held router used for cutting various hard materials, such as wood, composites, aluminium, steel, plastics, glass, and foams. A CNC router can be used in the production of many different items, such as door carvings, interior and exterior decorations, wood panels, sign boards, wooden frames, moldings, musical instruments, furniture, and so on. Common polymers used are HDPE, UHMW HDPE, PA, PC, POM, PP and PVC.
|Two or more materials pressed through the same die to produce a single piece of plastic. Coextruded plastics are produced for uses requiring technical properties that are not attainable using only one piece of plastic. For example, PE/PA Film.
|Process of washing scrap materials with cold water. This will remove basic contaminants, but it is not good enough to remove greasy, oily or heavily contaminated plastics. The next stage up is hot wash.
|Creating a highly specified plastic resin by taking multiple additives and/or materials and making them into one consistent pellet. To be used in manufacturing products that require certain technical properties to be met.
|A type of plastic that aims to replace PC. It is made from a certain type of PET.
|Block Copolymer, Random Copolymer
|A polymer formed from more than one type of monomer is called a copolymer. Thus, it contains two or more different types of repeating units. Usually, most of the copolymers are formed through a process called condensation polymerization. In the example of PP, Polypropylene copolymer is a bit softer but has better impact strength usually achieved by the introduction of some ethylene monomer units into the propylene chains. Its tougher and more durable than propylene homopolymer. It tends to have better stress crack resistance and lower temperature toughness than homopolymer at the expense of a small reduction in other properties.
|Correx, Corrugated Plastic, Corflute
|Twin wall plastic sheet, similar to cardboard. It is a lightweight material that is used in Packaging, Signage, Retail Displays and Construction. Most commonly made from polypropylene, but can also be made with polycarbonate for roofing applications. It is very light to collect and transport for recycling.
|Removing dust, labels and other light particles from plastic regrinds. This purifies the material, ready to recycled. Often done with a zig-zag or air flow machine placed immediately after a granulator.
|Commonly used to densify EPS (Expanded Polystyrene). EPS is placed into a hopper where it is crushed into small pieces and then compacted or densified into blocks. It reduces the density of EPS 50:1, making it more cost effective to transport. Sometimes used for EPE and EPP also.
|Die Cutting is an intricate process that uses a die to cut webs or sheets of material such as plastic, rubber, foil, cloth, paper, foam, and many others. This is a manufacturing process that cuts uniform shapes out of materials to create both component parts and final products for a wide variety of industries. Common products are Labels, Gaskets, Cards or other flat shapes. ABS, HDPE, PET, PP, PS and PVC can all be Die Cut
|Elongation at break
|Measures how much bending and shaping a material can withstand without breaking. Shown by the ratio between increased length and initial length after breakage of the tested sample.
|#6 in the Recycling Identification. Foamed (Expanded) Polystyrene used for packaging and for construction as it is a light yet rigid foam with good thermal insulation and high impact resistance. Commonly used as protection packaging for electronic appliances, bean bag beans, insulation and boxes for transporting fish or vegetables.
|Ethylene Vinyl Acetate
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. Flexible EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) is the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate. Its an extremely elastic material that can be processed like other thermoplastics. The material has low-temperature toughness, stress-crack and UV radiation resistance.
|Ethylene vinyl alcohol
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. Better than other plastics at keeping air out and flavours in, is highly transparent, weather resistant, oil and solvent resistant, flexible, moldable, recyclable, and printable.
Its drawback is that it is difficult to make and therefore more expensive than other food packaging. Instead of making an entire package out of EVOH, manufacturers keep costs down by coextruding or laminating it as a thin layer between cardboard, foil, or other plastics. It is also used as a hydrocarbon barrier in plastic fuel tanks and pipes
|Compounder, Extrusion Machine
|Machine that takes plastic resin, regrinds or agglomerate, melts it down, filters out contaminations, removes gases and allows the dosing of colours or additives. It produces a refined resin that will move on to manufacturing or finished products directly such as Pipes, Profiles, Sheets, Tubes and more.
|Talc or Carbon black powder added to plastics to either reduce cost, change colour or create particular mechanical properties. In recycling, materials with filler are less valuable and have limited markets compared to pure material. Most frequently used PP and HDPE.
|Film Extrusion is almost entirely used for consumption in packaging, particularly food packaging, with the remainder going into agricultural and construction applications. The process involves pushing molten polymer through a circular or slot die.
This continuous process enables the production of a consistent high quality product to extremely accurate gauge. For most thin gauge films, the film extrusion process takes the form of blown or cast extrusion. HDPE, LDPE & PP are the most common polymers used.
|Test for any contaminations in PE or PP materials. Other polymers or Fillers. Only pure PE and PP float in water. To conduct this test, take a large cup or bucket, fill it with water, put the plastic particles inside, stir and wait to settle. Any sunk pieces are not pure PE or PP.
|Separation Tanks, Sink/Float Tanks
|Because only pure PE & PP float in water, floatation tanks are used to separate contamination from plastics, ensuring a pure end product. It is possible to separate most polymers using water (e.g. PET, PS, ABS, PA, POM etc), but it requires the water density to be altered with salt. For mixed polymer streams, often several floatation tanks, each with varying densities are required.
|Flame Retardant, Fire Retardant
|Flame retardant (FR) plastic additives are compounds added to plastics and other materials to inhibit, suppress or delay combustion. These compounds are useful in impending burning in the ignition phase of fire.
They do not prevent charring or melting nor do they increase the heat resistance of a material. Flame retardants are also not effective when a fire is fully engaged. In recycling, FR plastics can only be used in certain applications and therefore not all customers can use them, but we do have outlets.
|Glass filled plastics are produced to enhance the strength, rigidity, hardness or other technical requirements of the material, depending on what it will be used for. Most commonly used in PA (Nylon), POM (Acetal) and PP. Often used in the automotive sector. Most glass filled plastics will have a clear indicator on the part.
E.g. "GF30" means 30% glass filled. GF10, GF15, GF20, GF25, GF30 are most common, but it is possible to find up to GF50. For recycling, there are limited applications.
|General Purpose Polystyrene
|#6 in the Recycling Identification. General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS) is brittle, rigid, transparent, low shrinkage, low cost, excellent X-ray resistance, free from odour and taste, easy to process. Uses include protective packaging (such as packing peanuts and CD and DVD cases), containers, lids, bottles, trays, tumblers, disposable cutlery, CD cases and boxes.
|The process of making regrind using a granulator.
|Machine that cuts plastics into regrind of 6-14mm. It does this with a series of rotating and stationary blades that cut large plastic pieces down as the enter the machine. A screen at the bottom of the machine determines when the material can be vacuumed out and into big bags.
The size of the holes in the screen determine the size of the regrind (e.g. 10mm). The pieces will be continually grinded down by the blades until they reach this size. The smaller the size, the more times the material must be cut, which increases the amount of fines or powder produced.
|High Density Polyethylene, PEHD
|#2 in the Recycling Identification. HDPE is a form of PE, higher in density, structurally stronger than LDPE.
|High Impact Polystyrene
|#6 in the Recycling Identification. HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) is PS copolymer with polybutadiene rubber, to enhance the performance. It's a versatile, economical and impact-resistant plastic that is easy to machine and fabricate. HIPS is often specified for low strength structural applications when impact resistance, machinability, and low cost are required. Such as TV casings, toys, cups and food trays.
|A homopolymer is formed by a single type of monomer. Thus, it consists of only one type of repeating unit. Homopolymers are usually made by a polymerization technique called addition polymerization.
In the example of PP, propylene homopolymer has a high strength-to-weight ratio, and is stiffer and stronger than the copolymer. These properties combined with good chemical resistance and weldability make it a material of choice in many corrosion resistant structures.
|Mainly produced using expanded polystyrene (EPS), it is an alternative to densifying. Material looks exactly like a lump, but more uniform in shape so it can be easily stacked and packaged. Best method to use for reducing the size of EPS.
|Plastic that has gone through a washline with at least one tank filled with hot water. This helps remove more contamination. Hot washed material is generally more clean and pure. It also means the feedstock was more dirty.
|Intermediate Bulk Container, IBC Tote
|Rigid intermediate bulk containers (IBC) are stackable, reusable, versatile containers with an integrated pallet base mount (often made of metal) that provides forklift and/or pallet jack maneuverability. These containers can be made from metal, plastic, or a composite construction of the two materials. Often used to distribute chemicals, paint, ink, food and beverage. Empty IBCs are often collected as part of a return scheme.
|Measurement of a material's resistance to impact (or absorb energy). It is the ability of a material to resist both fracture and deformation. Two common tests are Izod and Charpy.
|Moulded, Moulding, Injection Molding (US)
|One of the most common methods of manufacturing plastic products. Material is introduced into the injection moulding machine via a hopper. The injection moulding machine consists of a heated barrel equipped with a reciprocating screw (driven by a hydraulic or electric motor), which feeds the molten polymer into a temperature controlled split mould via a channel system of gates and runners.
The screw melts (plasticises) the polymer, and also acts as a ram during the injection phase. The screw action also provides additional heating by virtue of the shearing action on the polymer. The polymer is injected into a mould tool that defines the shape of the moulded part.
You can always tell when a product is injection moulded because it will have a small nipple (often at the bottom of the product) where the polymer was injected into the mould. Common products made are: buckets, crates, bottle caps, power tool housings, wheelie bins and more.
|Viscosity, Intrinsic Viscocity
|A measure of the polymers molecular weight and therefore reflects the materials melting point, crystallinity and tensile strength. The IV is used as part of the specification to select the right grade of PET for a particular application. Higher IVs (0.75-0.84) are used for bottling applications, whilst lower IVs are used for film sheet (0.65-0.75) and fibre (0.60-0.70).
|Coloured, Mixed Colour
|Common name given to mixed colour plastics. When reprocessed, jazz material (mixed colour) can only be made into dark grey or black products. Therefore it is less valuable than natural or transparent.
|Two or more materials bonded together. Laminates may be requires to achieve certain technical properties to protect the surface of the material.
|Low Density Polyethylene
|#4 in the Recycling Identification. LDPE has an excellent resistance to acids, bases and vegetable oils. Its toughness, flexibility and relative transparency make it good for packaging applications requiring heat-sealing.
|Linear Low Density Polyethylene
|#4 in the Recycling Identification. LLDPE has higher tensile strength and higher impact and puncture resistance than does LDPE. It is very flexible and elongates under stress. It can be used to make thinner films, with better environmental stress cracking resistance. It has good resistance to chemicals. It has good electrical properties. However, it is not as easy to process as LDPE, has lower gloss, and narrower range for heat sealing.
|Ramp for a forklift to drive up and load product into a shipping container
|Purge, Purgings, Head Waste
|Produced during extrusion of plastics either at the point of filter or when purging the line between production runs. A purge is required when changing materials, colours or blends and starting a production run. Due to the nature of our Lump is produced, it is common for them to be contaminated and therefore requires extra careful inspections.
|A solid or liquid additive for plastic used for coloring plastics (color masterbatch) or imparting other properties to plastics (additive masterbatch). Masterbatch is a concentrated mixture of pigments and/or additives encapsulated during a heat process into a carrier resin which is then cooled and cut into a pellet shape. Masterbatch allows the processor to colour raw polymer economically during the plastics manufacturing process.
|Medium Density Polyethylene
|MDPE has good shock and drop resistance properties. It also is less notch sensitive than HDPE. Stress cracking resistance is better than that of HDPE. MDPE is typically used in gas pipes and fittings, water tanks, kayaks, laundry tubs and screw closures.
|Plastic parts or film can be coated with metal, a process called metallisation, for both aesthetic and mechanical purposes. Visually, a metal coated piece of plastic features increased gloss and reflectivity. Other properties, such as abrasion resistance and electric conductivity, which are not innate characteristics of plastic, are often obtained through metallisation. Automotive and packaging are common applications.
|Melt Flow Index, MFR (Melt Flow Rate)
|A measure of the ease of flow of the melt of a thermoplastic polymer. It is defined as the mass of polymer, in grams, flowing in 10 minutes through a capillary of a specific diameter and length by a pressure applied via prescribed alternative gravimetric weights for alternative prescribed temperatures. Polymer processors usually correlate the value of MFI with the polymer grade that they have to choose for different processes. It is a measure of the ability of the material's melt to flow under pressure.
|Mix Lumps, Mixed Purgings
|When lumps contain more than one material. This happens when one polymer is purged from the extruder with another polymer and the lumps are melted together. This makes them unrecyclable. Not spotting them during an inspection could cause a lot of issues with a customer or our own factory.
|Materials Recovery Facility
|Facility that receives, separates and prepares materials for recycling. Typically an MRF receives mixed materials such as plastic, paper, metals, glass and textiles from households or construction and sorts them out.
|Measuring unit for weights across the business. 1MT is 1,000kg.
|Plastics you can see through. If you place your hand on the other side, you can see it clearly and in detail. Natural or transparent plastics are the most valuable because they can be used in any application, including converting to any colour (such as bright pink).
|Broadly defined as sheet or web structures bonded together by entangling fibre or filaments (and by perforating films) mechanically, thermally or chemically. They are flat or tufted porous sheets that are made directly from separate fibres, molten plastic or plastic film. Non-woven fabrics provide specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellence, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retardancy, washability, cushioning, thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, filtration, use as a bacterial barrier and sterility.
Often used for diapers, carpet (especially exhibition carpets), sanitary pads, seat covers, automotive interiors & medical industry. Often made from PP or PET, they can contain other polymers, absorbants or wood fibres mixed inside which would be considered contaminations for recycling.
|Old Corrugated Cardboard
|Gaylord (USA), Pallet Box
|Cardboard box capable of holding up to 1.2MT. Often used in plastics manufacturing
|Off-grade, Offspec, Offgrade Resin
|Virgin or prime resin that was produced outside the normally specifications of that material. This could be a difference in colour or technical properties. Sold for a lower price than virgin and the producer will not guarantee what you will get.
|PET testing method to detect contamination from PVC, multilayer bottles or other contaminants. Placing regrind (or flakes) of material into a baking tray and into the oven. PVC melts at a lower temperature than PET and therefore burns and turns black while PET is melting. Multilayer material melt at a higher temperature than PET and become visible.
|Polyamide, Nylon, PA6, PA66, PA612, PA12, PA11, PA46
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. Majority of nylons tend to be semi-crystalline and are generally very tough materials with good thermal and chemical resistance. The different types give a wide range of properties with specific gravity, melting point and moisture content tending to reduce as the nylon number increases.
Nylons tend to absorb moisture from their surroundings, provide good resistance to most chemicals, however can be attacked by strong acids, alcohol's and alkalis. They can be used in high temperature environments. Can often be glass filled (GF).
|Document showing all the details of goods that were loaded into a container or truck. Includes breakdown of items, gross weight, packaging weight (e.g. pallets, bags, stillages), tare weight and net weight.
|Polycarbonate/Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. A blend of PC and ABS providing unique combination of the high processability of ABS with the excellent mechanical properties, impact and heat resistance of PC. PC/ABS resins fit into applications that require a high heat distortion temperature (95-125°C) and good toughness. They have excellent low temperature toughness, making them ideally suited for products that will see a broad range of temperature. Automotive and electronics are most common.
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. As a naturally transparent amorphous thermoplastic, polycarbonates usefulness is in its ability to internally transmit light almost as effectively as glass and to withstand impacts far greater than many other commonly used plastics. Polycarbonates used in engineering are strong, tough materials, and some grades are optically transparent. They are easily worked, molded, and thermoformed. It is used in electronic components, construction materials, CDs, water bottles and more.
|Derived from HDPE. The designations PE80 and PE100 are based on the long-term strength of the respective materials, known as the minimum required strength (MRS) in accordance with ISO 12162. PE100 is a stronger, higher density material than PE80, demonstrating high resistance to rapid crack propagation (60°C to -30°C) as well as to long term stress cracking. Mainly used for water and sewage pipes.
|Polyethylene terephthalate, Polyester
|#1 in the Recycling Identification. PET is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in fibres for clothing, containers for liquids and foods, thermoforming for manufacturing, and in combination with glass fibre for engineering resins.
PET can be semi-rigid to rigid, and it is very lightweight. It makes a good gas and fair moisture barrier, as well as a good barrier to alcohol (requires additional "barrier" treatment) and solvents. It is strong and impact-resistant.
|Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. a thermoplastic polyester that provides significant chemical resistance, durability, and easy manufacturing. PETG can be easily vacuumed and pressure-formed as well as heat-bent thanks to its low forming temperatures. Additionally, PETG is well-suited for fabrication techniques like die cutting, routing, and bending. PETG is both as strong and cost-effective as compared to either acrylic or polycarbonate.
Its unique characteristics make it preferable for impact-resistant glazing and high strength display units. Suitable for digital printing, PETG lends itself to product materials, displays, and signage. It is NOT suitable for outdoor use.
|Acrylic, Poly(methyl methacrylate), Plexiglass, Perspex
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. A transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. The same material can be used as a casting resin, in inks and coatings, and has many other uses. PMMA is an economical alternative to polycarbonate (PC) when tensile strength, flexural strength, transparency, polishability, and UV tolerance are more important than impact strength, chemical resistance and heat resistance.
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. An engineering thermoplastic used in precision parts requiring high stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability. POM is characterized by its high strength, hardness and rigidity to ?40 °C. POM is intrinsically opaque white, due to its high crystalline composition, but it is available in all colors.
Typical applications for injection-molded POM include high-performance engineering components such as small gear wheels, eyeglass frames, ball bearings, ski bindings, fasteners, guns, knife handles, and lock systems. The material is widely used in the automotive and consumer electronics industry.
|Scrap or waste material produced by the consumer. For example, a plastic bottle after the drink has been consumed. This material is always contaminated and requires washing before it can be recycled into a new product.
|Industrial Scrap, Post Commercial, Commercial Waste
|Scrap or waste material produced by industrial or commercial uses. For example, distribution centres, retail, food packing. This material is often quite clean and when well segregated may not need any washing to be recycled.
|Factory Scrap, Factory Waste
|Scrap or waste material produced when goods are manufactured. For example, injection moulding a bottle cap, thermoforming a salad tray, redundant stock of PP pots for noodles. This is always the cleanest and purest source of material. It is easily recyclable back into finished products.
|#5 in the Recycling Identification. It is harder and more heat resistant than PE. It is a mechanically rugged material and has a high chemical resistance, is the second-most widely produced commodity plastic (after polyethylene) and it is often used in packaging and labeling.
|Parts Per Million
|This is a way of expressing small concentrations of substances. Just as percent means out of a hundred, so parts per million (ppm) means out of a million. In our industry it describes the concentration of contamination within plastic material - especially regrinds.
Customers will have a tolerance level for how many PPM of a contamination they can accept. Sending material with more contamination than a customer can handle could turn into a big loss of reputation and money.
|Polystryene, GPPS, HIPS
|#6 in the Recycling Identification. Polystyrene (PS) plastic is a naturally transparent thermoplastic that is available as both a typical solid plastic as well in the form of a rigid foam material. PS plastic is commonly used in a variety of consumer product applications and is also particularly useful for commercial packaging. It comes in 2x sub-categories, GPPS and HIPS.
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. Used in the manufacture of high-resilience foam seating, rigid foam insulation panels, microcellular foam seals and gaskets, durable elastomeric wheels and tires (such as roller coaster, escalator, shopping cart, elevator, and skateboard wheels), automotive suspension bushings, electrical potting compounds, high performance adhesives, surface coatings and surface sealants, synthetic fibers (such as Spandex), carpet underlay, hard-plastic parts (such as for electronic instruments), condoms and hoses.
|#3 in the Recycling Identification. PVC comes in two basic forms: rigid (sometimes abbreviated as RPVC) and flexible. The rigid form of PVC is used in construction for pipe and in profile applications such as doors and windows. It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely used being phthalates. In this form, it is also used in plumbing, electrical cable insulation, imitation leather, flooring, signage.
|End of Life Stock
|Products held in stock that are no longer required for use or sale. For example, a stock of PET Trays are in boxes ready to be sent to a supermarket to pack strawberries and the supermarket discontinues that product line. The PET trays are now redundant. These can now be recycled. The quality is high because they have not been used (Post Production).
|Hard plastics cut into small pieces (6-14mm) using a granulation machine (or granulator). This is done to densify the material for weight, consistent feeding into an extruder (to make pellets) or for more effective washing if the material is dirty. Some regrinds can be used directly in the production of products.
|Recycled plastics that have been extruded into a resin or pellet. Always of lower quality than virgin and cheaper, unless markets have an unusually high demand for recycled material.
|Compound, Granules, Pellets
|Small pellets of 3-5mm that are used to manufacture products from plastics. The shape can vary in size depending on the machine used to cut the material. Resin is produced as part of the extrusion process, in either the production of virgin plastics (new) or recycling plastics. Pellets are made to ensure consistent and continuous flow into the extrusion process for the product manufacturer.
|Plastic film or sheet rolled up on a cardboard core.
|Plastics moulding technology which is ideal for making hollow products such as tanks and kayaks. A plastic material, normally in powder form is placed into a hollow mould, usually made from cast aluminium or fabricated from sheet steel. The mould is closed and rotated slowly on two axis. The mould is then heated in an oven whilst rotating and the polymer gradually melts and lays-up on the inside of the mould.
Once the polymer powder has fully melted the mould is moved to a cooling station and cooled usually with air and sometimes a fine mist of water. As the mould cools the part solidifies. When the material has finally cooled sufficiently to release away from the mould surface the process is stopped and the product is taken out of the mould (de-moulded). Typically PP, HDPE, MDPE or LDPE are used.
|The process of destroying information on tapes, disks, documents, out of date products, trademarked products and other forms of electronic and physical storage. Information destruction is to the point that it is completely unreadable and cannot be accessed or used for unauthorized purposes.
|A process that converts virgin plastic resin into flat, continuous sheet that is wound up into a roll. Sheet is distinguished from film by its thickness: anything over 0.25-mm is considered sheet. Thinner sheet is typically thermoformed into trays, cups or bowls, whereas thick sheet may be used for signage, refrigerator liners and truck bed liners. Common sheet extrusion materials include PET, HDPE, PP, PS ABS and PVC high-density. Sheet can be produced in either single or multi-layer formats (Laminates).
|Plastics cut into big pieces (20-60mm) using a shredder. This is a rough process designed to reduce the size of the material prior to washing or making regrind. Most frequently used for materials that are big and bulky.
|Machine that cuts large plastic pieces into rough shred of 20-60mm. It does this with a series of small blades or knives attached to a rotor and stationary blades. A screen at the bottom of the machine determines the size of the shred (such as 30mm) and the plastics will be continually cut until they can pass through the screen.
|Single Source, Mono
|Single polymer source coming from a single source of supply and is pure. For example, PET Preforms coming from a company that only injection moulds PET Preforms. Single steam is the most pure supply you can get.
|Trims, Trimming, Skeletal, Offcuts
|Scrap produced from die cutting, thermoforming and vacuum forming plastics. It is the leftover pieces (scrap) of material once the desired product it cut out of a sheet of plastic.
|A large open-topped waste container designed for loading onto a special type of lorry. Instead of being emptied into a bin lorry on site, as a wheelie bin is, a skip is removed, or replaced by an empty skip, and then tipped at a landfill site or transfer station.
|More than one commodity loaded into container or truck. Often a split load is preferred by a supplier because it allows them to clear their space quickly, as opposed to saving up a full container or truck of each commodity.
|A sprue is the passage through which liquid material is introduced into a mould. In many cases it controls the flow of material into the mold. During casting or injection moulding, the material in the sprue will solidify and need to be removed from the finished part. This excess material is also called a sprue. This scrap is collected by us from injection moulding companies.
|A rack, cage or pallet for holding goods off the floor or separating goods in transit.
|Pieces of plastic that are the debris or waste resulting from machining (CNC Cutting) or similar subtractive (material-removing) manufacturing processes. Swarf can be small particles, long, stringy tendrils or fragments. It is very light and therefore costly to transport. End customers don't like to use it because it has low bulk density when feeding into extruders. Therefore it is much less valuable than larger scrap pieces.
|Tare Weight, Unladen Weight
|The weight of an empty vehicle or container. By subtracting it from the gross weight, the weight of the goods carried may be determined.
|Measures the maximum stress the material can withstand before it breaks under tension. It is measured in psi (pounds per square inch). The tensile testing machine pulls a sample from both ends and measures the force required to pull it apart and how much the sample stretches before breaking.
|Talc is used to produce technical characteristics or reduce the cost of the material. See filler section. Often parts will show the percentage by indicating "TF 15" for example being 15% talc filled.
|A manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mould, and trimmed to create a usable product. The largest application for thermoformed articles is for food packaging. Other industries include toiletries, pharmaceuticals and electronics. For example, meat trays, microwave and deep freeze containers, ice cream and margarine tubs, delicatessen tubs, snack tubs, bakery and patisserie packaging, sandwich packs and vending drink cups. HDPE, PP, PET, PS & PVC are commonly used polymers.
|Processing or recycling material on behalf of another company for a fee. We take no ownership of the material, but are instead providing a service.
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. Show advantages typical of both rubbery materials and plastic materials. The benefit of using thermoplastic elastomers is the ability to stretch to moderate elongations and return to its near original shape creating a longer life and better physical range than other materials.
|#7 in the Recycling Identification. Outdoor applications such as roofing frequently contain TPO because it does not degrade under solar UV radiation, a common problem with nylons. TPO is used extensively in the automotive industry.
|Ultra High Molecular Weight, UHMWPE
|Embodies all the characteristics of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with the added traits of being resistant to concentrated acids and alkalis, as well as numerous organic solvents. It is highly resistant to corrosive chemicals except oxidizing acids; has extremely low moisture absorption and a very low coefficient of friction; is self-lubricating; and is highly resistant to abrasion. Common applications are sheets for making food service cabinetry, docks (piers), bearings, cables and medical (joint replacements).
|A sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto a single-surface mould, and forced against the mould by a vacuum. This process can be used to form plastic into permanent objects such as baths, caravans, boat hulls and yoghurt pots. ABS, PETG, PS, PC, PP, HDPE, PVC and PMMA are the most common polymers used.
|Brand new plastics manufactured by petrochemical companies.
|Moving floor trailer
|Trailer with a hydraulically driven moving floor system which automates loading and unloading without the need for a forklift to enter the trailer. Materials are fed into a walking floor from the top. Not all suppliers can load them and not all customers will accept them.
|Plastic material that is dirty or dusty and requires washing before being recycled. This limits who and what markets can process it because washing with water requires special licensing.
|A scale that can be driven onto by a truck to weigh cargo. They should be calibrated regularly to certify their accuracy.
|Ticket issued from a weighbridge or scales showing the net weight of cargo. A truck must be weighed empty before goods are loaded and then again after. By subtracting one from other we get net weight. Weighbridges should be calibrated and certified regularly.
|Stock that has no matching counterpart. For example, bottle caps leftover after a production run at a bottling plant. There are no bottles left to put them on and now they must be scrapped
|Weaving is a method by many threads or tapes woven in two directions (warp and weft), to form a fabric. A plastic film is drawn into filaments, woven into fabric/sheet/cloth. It can be made into a tarpaulin, woven bags (big bags), seed bags, geotextile fabric and more. Most common in our industry is PP Bags, which are woven.
|Air Flow, Air Classifier
|Machine that removes dust and paper labels from plastic regrinds during the recycling process. It is called a zig zag because the material falls down a tall metal box shaped in a zig-zag form. There is a strong airflow going up to blow dust in the opposite direction of the material. Zig-zag shape means the material will hit several metal plates on the way down, dispersing the regrind to allow the dust to come free.