Hartlepool Borough Council

What happens to my recycling after collection?

Household plastic packaging

  • Page 6 of 10

Plastic is a hugely useful material, which means that we now use about 20 times as much plastic as we did 50 years ago.

When plastics are recycled they must first be sorted. At the moment in the UK most sorting for mechanical recycling is done by trained staff who manually sort the plastics into polymer type and/or colour. Technology is being introduced to sort plastics automatically.

Following sorting, the plastic is either melted down directly and moulded into a new shape, or melted down after being shredded into flakes and then processed into granules.

Recycled plastics can be made into a variety of different products such as:

  • polyethylene bin liners and carrier bags
  • plastic bottles
  • flooring and window frames
  • building insulation board
  • dvd and compact disc cases
  • fencing and garden furniture
  • water butts, garden sheds and composters
  • seed trays
  • fleeces
  • fibre filling for sleeping bags and duvets
  • variety of office accessories

    This short animation clip from Recycle Now shows what happens to plastic bottles during the recycling process. 

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