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Plastics are polymers, large molecules made of repeating units of smaller molecules (monomers) that are chemically bound

together. A polymer is like a chain in which each link is a monomer.

Oxygen,170 C

1000 atm


Plastics are chemically produced substance that can be molded into a permanent or a temporary object.

TYPES: Thermo Plastics

Those which can be remoulded into any other desired shape.

Thermosetting Plastics
Those which cannot be remoulded into any other desired shape.

There are about 50 different groups of plastics, with hundreds of different varieties. American Society of Plastics Industry developed a marking code to help consumers identify and sort the main types of plastics.


Poly Ethylene Pterephthalate High-density polyethylene

Fizzy drink bottles and oven-ready meal trays Bottles for milk and washing-up liquids.



Polyvinyl chloride

Food trays, cling film, bottles for squash, mineral water and shampoo.


Low-density polyethylene

Carrier bags and bin liners.


Polypropylene -

Microwaveable meal trays, margarine tubs Pots, fish trays, boxes and cartons, cups, plastic



Resistance to chemicals, water and impact. Good safety and hygiene properties for food packaging. Excellent thermal and electrical insulation properties. Relatively inexpensive to produce. Lighter weight than competing materials, reducing fuel consumption during transportation.

Disadvantages of Plastics

The main disadvantage of plastic is the shear amount of time they take to decompose--the average plastics takes 500 years. Plastic's decomposition can be affected by various factors, such as the type of plastic, the climate and acids in the landfill; plastic still lasts a long time, filling landfills for an indefinite period.

Glass bottles can be melted and easily reused, as can tin cans. Recycling plastic is not so simple. Much of the plastic placed in recycling boxes is not recycled at all, as most plastic cannot be recycled. Those bottles that are recycled are not used to make new bottles. Instead, recycled plastic bottles are used to make non-recyclable products, such as T-shirts, plastic lumber or parking lot bumpers. This means more raw materials need to be used to create new plastic bottles than is the case with easily recycled material, such as glass or tin.

Plastic is manufactured using oil by-products and natural gas, materials that could be used in numerous other applications or conserved were plastic usage lower. Natural gas, for example, can be used to heat houses and cook food. Using plastic in the volume we currently do reduces the availability of these resources, which are gone forever when used up.

The standard disposable plastic bottle is meant for one use, not many. Recycled plastic bottles are not refilled in-mass the way glass beer bottles are, and flimsy plastic bottles do not lend themselves well to at-home re-usage. Water bottles, for example, are often reused in the home but become less and less sturdy over time and are ultimately thrown away.

Discarded Plastic usually ends up within marine sources. The Pacific Ocean has one of the largest dumping ground for plastics, unknown numbers of sea birds marine mammals and fish ingest plastics which causes a variety of negative health effects.

Plastic is one of the few new chemical materials which pose environmental problem. Plastic in the environment is regarded to be more an aesthetic nuisance than a hazard, since the material is biologically quite inert. Plastic is cheap, it gets discarded easily, and, its persistence in the environment can do great harm.


Plastics Release Pollutants:
Poly brominated di-phenyl ethers (PBDE) Nonylphenolls Bisphenol A Phthalates

Plastics Absorb Hydrophobic Pollutants:

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloro ethane (DDT) Dichloro Diphenyl Dichloro ethylene (DDE)


Many plastics, particularly PVC, when burned result in emissions of the deadly poisons named dioxin. Dioxins are highly persistent compounds, with the potential to become increasingly concentrated in living tissues as they move up the food chain. It is often considered to be the man-made compound most toxic to animals.


The per capita consumption of plastic in the country is 10.2 kg in 2012.It is expected to go up to 12 kg by 2014. By 2012, India is also projected to be the third largest consumer market for plastic goods with a consumption of 12.5 million tonnes per annum, behind US and China.

Percentage of Plastic used in different fields

Mechanical Engineering 2% Medical Footwear 2% 1%

Toys/Sports 3%

Other 3%

Agriculture 7%

Transport 8%

Furniture/Houseware 8%

Packaging 35%

Electrical and Electronics 8%

Building and Construction 23%

Disposing of plastic waste is trickier than dealing with other traditional landfill material. Not only does plastic take thousands of years to break down, it can leach dangerous poison into the environment. Plastic is not going away, but how plastic waste is managed is becoming more sophisticated. Managing plastic waste starts at home with the consumer, but ultimately depends on governments around the world as well.

Plasma Pyrolysis Technology (PPT)

Plasma pyrolysis or plasma gasification is a waste treatment technology that gasifies matter in an oxygen-starved environment to decompose waste material into its basic molecular structure. It uses high electrical energy and high temperature created by an electrical arc gasifier and does not combust the waste as incinerators do. This arc breaks down waste primarily into elemental gas and solid waste (slag), in a device called a plasma converter.

Biodegradable Plastics
Bioplastics are a form of plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils , corn starch or micro biota .Common plastics, such as fossil-fuel plastics, are derived from petroleum. These plastics rely more on scarce fossil fuels and produce more greenhouse gas. Some, but not all, bioplastics are designed to biodegrade. Bioplastics which are designed to biodegrade can break down in either anaerobic or aerobic environments, depending on how they are manufactured. There is a variety of bioplastics being made; they can be composed of starches, cellulose, or other biopolymers. Some common applications of bioplastics are packaging materials, dining utensils, food packaging, and insulation.

Conversion of Plastic Waste into Liquid Fuel

Methods to convert waste plastics into hydrocarbon fuel have been in development for decades. But the associated costs to commercialize the technologies were prohibitive in previous years when crude oil was relatively inexpensive. As costs for crude oil have risen, concerns about energy security and the environment are renewing efforts in plasticsto fuel recycling processes. Scientists hope the technologies will soon provide the nation with cheaper, alternative fuels that can help reduce foreign oil dependency.

4-R for Plastics!

Refuse Reduce Reuse Recycle

Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different in form from their original state. For instance, this could mean melting down soft drink bottles and then casting them as plastic chairs and tables. Typically a plastic is not recycled into the same type of plastic, and products made from recycled plastics are often not recyclable

Types of Plastic Recycling

Process Scrap Plastic Recycling :- This method of plastic recycling is applied to the left over products from the plastic manufacturing process. These left over products or polymers are comparatively unpolluted and the process of recycling them is simple and cost-effective as well. Post-use Plastic Recycling :- Processing household plastic waste is one of the biggest challenge. Plastic products that have been used and thrown away, are recycled by the post-use plastic recycling process. Mechanical Plastic Recycling:- This method of plastic recycling includes various processes like shredding, melting etc., of the plastic waste. First the plastics are classified according to their polymer type. Afterwards the plastic should have to melted or made into a new shape. Apart from this, the plastic waste is first shredded, then melted and then processed into granules. Feedstock or Chemical Plastic Recycling :- This method of plastic recycling, involves the breaking down of polymers, which can then be used in various industries. The feedstock plastic recycling process is flexible and more forbearing to the plastic additives, as compared to the mechanical plastic recycling. This is the most costly method of plastic recycling.

Steps Involved in the Recycling Process

Stage One Sorting the Plastic Firstly the waste plastic needs to be collected by the recycling company, once the plastic arrives at the recycling plant the first stage is sort the plastic in to the specific types, plastic recycling is more complex than that of metal or glass recycling due to the many different types of plastic and more importantly mixed plastic cannot be used in manufacturing without delivering poor quality products, hence why plastic recycling companies need to be thorough when it comes to sorting the waste plastic in to the different forms prior to the next stage in the recycling process. Stage Two - Washing Waste Plastic Once the waste plastic has been identified and separated in to one of its many forms the cleaning process can begin, this usually starts with washing to remove paper labels, adhesives and other impurities, all the labels on your plastic containers, bottles and even your wheelie bin need to be completely removed as these will lower the quality of the finished recycled plastic.

Stage Three- Shredding the Plastic

The shredding stage is when the waste plastic is taken and loaded on to conveyor belts or directly in to huge hoppers that funnel the clean scrap towards rotating metal teeth that rip the plastic in to small pellets which are bagged up afterwards ready for testing. Stage Four Identify and Classify the Plastic Once the shredded plastic has been bagged it is then chemically tested and labelled as to its exact specification, this rGrade plastic can be used as is by adding to a mix of virgin plastic in a manufacturing run, alternatively the rGrade plastic can be further recycled. Stage Five - Extruding This is the final stage in recycling plastic, this involves melting the clean shredded plastic and extruding in to the form of pellets which then go on to manufacture the next lot of plastic products.

Sorting Equipment
Sensors: These devices detect specific polymers within a mixed stream of plastic materials. They can be equipped with x-ray or infrared sensing that registers a polymers unique signature along the spectrum. Some sensors also incorporate color detection technology that sorts material according to tint and transparency. Ejectors: Mechanical or precision air ejection units physically group different plastic materials according to resin types. Depending on their capacity, ejectors can often handle very high rates of input. Computing Systems: Computer processing technology supplies the algorithms that are used to identify and sort different materials. These systems provide the controlling parameters for both sensor and ejector operations. User Interfaces: An operators interface can provide machine controls and diagnostic tools for technicians. In addition, interfaces can also offer networking abilities to help integrate a sorting machine and make rapid adjustments to its functions.

Size Reduction Machines

Granulators are usually sturdy machines, capable of relatively rapid cutting rates, and the presence of the grid allows for more precise control over the size of cuts. Granulator blades typically need to be replaced regularly over the course of operations.

Washing Equipment
Paper, glue, sand, and grit are some of the common elements targeted in the washing process, which can be accomplished using water baths, friction washers, or a washing line. The washing line applies a continuous hot spray over a stream of plastic material, removing some or all of the labels and dirt attached to the plastic surface. Detergents and disinfecting agents are often included in this process to improve the level of cleaning.

Separating Equipment
Most separation processes can be categorized as wet or dry methods. Float tanks are the most common wet method, separating material based on density and whether it sinks or floats, while hydrocyclones use centrifugal force to divide material according to weight. Among dry methods, air classification differentiates between types of plastic based on the ratio of flake surface area to mass, meaning thicker materials are sifted away from thin ones. Laser spectral analyzers are most advanced machines that use spectroscopic detection to determine precise levels of contamination in a given batch. Alternative devices can employ ultraviolet or fluorescent light to separate plastic according to color or light absorption levels. Melt separation machines move plastic flakes along a conveyor or hot roller while heat is applied to separate material according to melting point.

Pelletizing Machines
Pelletizing reclaimed plastic is the final step in most recycling processes. Converting post-consumer plastic into pellets allows for easier distribution and remanufacturing, and ultimately benefits the speed and effectiveness of reintroducing recycled plastic into industrial manufacturing. single or double screw extruders are used at this stage Single screw extruders rely on pumping action and shear to shape plastic, while double screw extruders perform more of a mixing function with lower shearing force to create a compound material. Ventilation and vacuum pumps may be required to regulate the degassing effects.

Common Recycled Plastics

1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE) Excellent clarity, strength, toughness, and barrier to gas and moisture. Commonly used in soft drinks, water, salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter jars. 2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Excellent stiffness, strength, toughness, resistance to moisture and permeability to gas. Commonly used in milk, juice, and water bottles; trash and retail bags. 3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Excellent versatility, clarity, ease of bending, strength, and toughness. Commonly used in juice bottles, cling films, and PVC piping. 4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Excellent ease of processing, strength, toughness, flexibility, ease of sealing, and barrier to moisture. Commonly used in frozen food bags, freezable bottles, and flexible container lids.

Reusing of plastic