September 21, 2021 at 7:00 AM
Beginner’s guide to buy and sell plastics

If you have a company or are an individual who is looking to start buying and selling plastics, our team at Becher Plastics can help. Before we get too involved in the logistics of what it takes to buy and sell plastic, let’s talk about things you need to know about plastics. To help, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to plastics and some of the processes that are involved with it.

Cleaning

Plastic cannot be recycled or processed for selling until it’s been cleaned. It might seem strange to clean the garbage before you throw it out, but this is an important part of the process as reused plastics cannot be utilized for certain products if they’re contaminated from previous uses. For example, a plastic that is considered contaminated from oil and doesn’t come completely clean, cannot be used for packaging of food as it exceeds the minimum contamination threshold as set by the FDA.

Thorough cleanings can be done by emptying the contents of the container then wash it with soap and hot water. If you’re wanting to recycle plastics that are covered in oil, soap and hot water are essential parts of cleaning the item. Caustic sodas can also be used to clean oil off plastics.

Sorting

Part of recycling plastic requires that it’s sorted with other similar plastics. Remember that not all plastics are the same so there might be some that are more easily recycled while others are made of different materials and cannot be. Sorting plastics also includes removing materials that aren’t plastic. These can be paper labels off water bottles or metallic stickers off toys. Additionally, soft plastics must be separated from hard plastics, transparent from colored, and PVC separated from other types of plastics.

Reducing the size of plastic

When it comes to recycling plastics, it’s important to minimize the amount of space the items will take as a whole. Before they’re processed, plastics can be cut, shredded, flaked, and baled to make them easier to move.

If you’re buying plastics to be melted down and molded, you can buy them in sheets or pellets. Both are great places to start with your product because they can be easily melted down from their original source and put into the mold you’re going to use.

Know your plastic types (recycling numbers)

As previously mentioned, not all plastics are made from the same materials. Each plastic is going to have its own process to be properly recycled. To understand what each is made of, let’s look at what the numbers mean on every plastic item that you can recycle. Recycling numbers and plastic materials are as follows:

  • 1 - Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET)
  • 2 - High-density polyethylene (HDPE or PE-HD)
  • 3 - Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or V)
  • 4 - Low-density polyethylene (LDPE or PE-LD)
  • 5 - Polypropylene (PP)
  • 6 - Polystyrene (PS)
  • 7 - Other plastics. These can be identified as acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid.

Get in touch to learn more

To learn more about what it takes to buy and sell plastic, reach out to our team of experts at Becher Plastics. We offer recycling services for anyone who’s looking to reduce their carbon footprint, recycle plastic resins, and plastic scrap products. Contact us by calling 920-809-4778 or send an inquiry via our online contact form. We look forward to working with you and providing you with solutions to recyclable plastics.