Plastics Recycling

Tri-Power Recycling can accept plastics 1 through 7 for recycling. Plastic waste can then be melted and repurposed into new products, keeping the environment free from plastic pollution.

Plastic recycling is a huge industry considering over 300 million tons of plastic waste are generated every year. Plastic recycling centers are key to diverting that massive amount of waste away from landfills. Since we know the United States generates more plastic waste than any other country in the world, it’s essential we all – from individuals to small businesses to large corporations – actively recycle plastics.

Unfortunately, some countries allow items like plastic bottles, detergent jugs, grocery bags, and water bottles to be dumped into rivers for plastics sorting. The most desirable plastics, labeled 1 and 2, are retrieved first while lower-quality plastics labeled 3 - 7 are picked over or left behind. Sometimes, other natural places are used for plastics disposal. Such practices only serve to harm this beautiful world we inhabit.

Use a Local Plastic Recycling Center

Plastic recycling centers like Tri-Power Recycling in Elkhart County, Indiana, can accept plastics 1 through 7 for recycling. Plastic waste can then be melted and repurposed into new products, keeping the environment free from plastic pollution.

Why You Should Recycle – Tackling Misinformation

Recycling depots sometimes receive negative publicity that can stick in people’s minds. We want to assure you Tri-Power Recycling is committed to industry best practices, using our 80+ years of combined experience to help protect our planet.

Consider these facts when deciding whether to recycle:
  • ENERGY - It takes less energy to create new items from recycled materials than it does to create new products from raw materials.
  • JOBS - The recycling process creates far more jobs than a landfill does. On a per-ton basis, sorting and processing recyclables supports 10 times as many jobs as landfilling or incineration.
  • ECONOMICS - Recycling is often the least expensive waste management method. Many of our programs even allow you to generate revenue for something you would have sent to the landfill as trash.

Recycling Saves Energy & the Environment

Plastics Recycling is Energy Efficient

Recycling is the best, most energy-efficient waste stream available. Waste streams are a term that encompasses the entire “life” of a waste product, from the time you toss a product into the garbage to where it inevitably ends up. Most waste streams result in trash ending up in overflowing landfills where they will only break down and decompose after centuries, if at all.

Through recycling, the waste stream is extended, allowing a particular product to go through the disposal process several times.

Every year, the United States alone exports billions of pounds of plastic waste to be processed in other countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Unfortunately, even these countries have become overwhelmed by the excess export of plastic waste from other highly industrialized countries like Canada and Japan.

American-based companies like Tri-Power Recycling aid in cutting down on the export of plastic waste. Tri-Power Recycling does its part in easing the load of the massive and burgeoning demands for recycling done right.

Commercial Collection and Recycling Services

Tri-Power Recycling offers customized collection services for businesses. We can determine your recycling needs, requirements, and the best way to improve efficiency of your current waste management program with a recycling audit. We will evaluate the type and amount of recyclable material you have, consider your space constraints, and calculate your equipment needs to create a collection schedule customized for you.

We have over eight decades of combined experience and numerous relationships across the globe that allow us to provide your business with efficient and economical waste stream management.

What Types of Plastics Can Be Recycled?

Plastics are classified by their different resin properties. There are 7 common types of plastic—and Tri-Power Recycling accepts all of them! If you are unfamiliar with the different classifications of plastics, there is more information on each of these types below:

Plastic Recycling Symbols / Numbers
  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET/PETE): One of the most common types of plastic, PET or PETE can be found in soft drink and water bottles, peanut butter jars, and salad dressing containers as well as in polyester fabrics. PET is known for being lightweight and transparent but still strong, which is why it is used so frequently in food packaging.
  2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): Another very common type of plastic, HDPE is stiff and resistant to moisture which has led it to be used most often in milk, water, and juice containers, as well as trash and retail bags.
  3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Polyvinyl Chloride is rigid and durable, resisting chemicals and weather, leading to it being used often in construction materials. PVC also does not conduct electricity which means it is not uncommon to find PVC in cables and wires. Also resistant to germs, PVC is used in medical applications as well. Most will be familiar with PVC in its use in plumbing, but PVC is also utilized in the production of toys, gutters, credit cards, and medical tubing.
  4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): LDPE is a clearer and more malleable version of HDPE. This softer Polyethylene is used to manufacture freezable bottles, frozen food bags, plastic clips, grocery and garbage bags, bubble wrap, sandwich bags, and the lids of containers.
  5. Polypropylene (PP): One of the most durable types of plastic, PP is heat resistant. This quality means that PP is ideal for keeping foodstuff warm. PP is also very flexible while still retaining strength. You’ll find PP in straws, prescription bottles, bottle caps, hot food containers, DVD boxes, automotive parts, diapers, and even in medical and laboratory equipment.
  6. Polystyrene (PS): You will be most familiar with PS as Styrofoam™ and other packaging materials. Polystyrene is cheap to produce, and it insulates well, which has led to its prevalence in food, packaging, and construction. Recycled polystyrene is often used in coffee cups and plates, egg cartons, and takeout food containers. Non-packaging uses for PS include building construction insulation and plastic cutlery.
  7. Other: This final category encompasses a variety of plastics such as Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS), used to create children’s toys, protective headwear, gauges, luggage, and more; and polycarbonate (PC), used in the production of DVDs, sunglasses, police riot gear, and more. While these types of plastics aren’t typically recyclable through placement in a local recycling bin, specialized recycling centers like Tri-Power Recycling can process these products.
The presence or absence of a recycling triangle on a product does not mean that it is recyclable or unrecyclable; contrary to popular belief, these recycling triangles indicate the type of plastic used in the product rather than if the product itself is recyclable. Generally, there are products within all the 7 groups of plastics that can be recycled in your recycling bin, but there are always exceptions.

Customers in and around the Elkhart, Indiana area, can contact us at Tri-Star Recycling with any questions you have about items you are looking to recycle.

How Does Plastic Recycling Help the Environment?

Greenhouse gas emissions are cut down by the recycling of plastic. Studies have found that the production of new plastic creates almost 500 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. However, recycling plastic products uses around 40% less petroleum and generates 30% less carbon dioxide than creating new plastic products. As the demand for plastic continues to grow each year, the need for recycling will continue to grow as well.

Polymer degradation, which is the breaking down of chemical strength and bonds through use and reuse, means that plastics are not infinitely recyclable. Each time plastic is recycled, it grows a bit weaker, leading it to be downcycled into lower-quality products. Recycling takes the plastic industry closer to a “closed-loop” system—a system that could be fully self-sustainable through the recycling and repurposing of all plastic materials. PLASTICS, a trade association that represents all facets of the plastic industry from suppliers, processors, manufacturers, to brand owners, endeavor to create a closed-loop system because such a system would reduce the plastic industry’s carbon footprint.

Recycling companies like Tri-Power Recycling can help cut down the impact the plastic industry has on the environment by a considerable amount.

Plastic Bottle on Beach

Only 9% of all total plastic waste ever created has been recycled. All the rest of that waste was either incinerated, or more than likely, dumped into landfills. Unfortunately, our landfills are running out of room, and when that 91% of plastic waste sits in landfills, they break apart into dangerous microplastics that fill our atmosphere.

Articles by Scientific American show that even the most remote parts of the world aren’t free from plastic pollution. Plastic aloft in the atmosphere has even been carried to the already dwindling Arctic icecaps. Even in places far from industrial sources, the rapid growth of plastic pollution has impacted more places around the world.

By increasing the rate at which we recycle - whether that be through the actions of the individual or via bulk plastic recycling by corporations - we can all do our part in helping to solve the growing problems of greenhouse gas emissions, microplastics in our skies and oceans, and the dwindling amount of space in our landfills.

What About Biodegradable Plastics?

Biodegradable plastics are designed to break down through the natural actions of living organisms and can be degraded through water, carbon dioxide, and microbes. Made with renewable materials, petrochemicals, and micro-organisms, biodegradable plastics can be used to create disposable products that have less of a negative impact on the environment.

However, biodegradable plastics are not designed to break down in completely natural environments. Biodegradable plastics are meant to be decomposed through controlled composting where they will degrade much faster than traditional plastics. The ocean is not an optimal environment for biodegradation to occur, and the ocean is unfortunately where much of the produced biodegradable waste is dumped. Just like normal plastics, biodegradable waste can pose harm to marine life.

While biodegradable plastics are certainly much quicker to be broken down than traditional plastics, they require more specific infrastructure than a lot of local waste disposal plants can provide. Plastic recycling is still necessary to extend the waste stream of plastic products and keep those products from polluting our planet.

How to Recycle Everyday Items

Water Bottles and Bottle Caps RecyclingIf you’re wondering if it’s worth your time to recycle water bottles, the answer is a clear “yes”. Almost every water bottle is made from PET, the most recyclable type of plastic you can find. PET bottle recycling is one of the easiest ways to keep waste out of landfills.

While at one point it was best to remove the caps from your plastic bottles, new advancements in recycling technology have made it so the bottles and the caps can be recycled together. Separating your caps from your bottles now only serves to divert more plastic away from recycling centers.

Before placing your water bottles into the recycling bin, make sure they’re empty of all contents and their caps are screwed on. While you don’t need to rinse out your bottles before tossing them, you want to make sure they’re empty.
Plastic Water Bottles & Caps Can Be Recycled
Milk Bottle Recycling: Milk bottle recycling is also a very practical form of recycling, whether your milk comes in a paper carton, glass jar, or plastic jug. Even though milk jugs are recyclable, studies have shown less than 30% of milk jugs are actually recycled. The remaining 70+% end up in landfills where they won’t be able to decompose for a few centuries.

Like water bottles, if you plan on recycling your milk jugs, make sure they are free of all contents.
Milk Bottle & Milk Jugs Can Be Recycled
Grocery Bag Recycling: Plastic bags can be recycled and reused by your retailers. When tossed in with the rest of your recyclable waste, plastic bags become tanglers that interfere with machinery during the sorting and transport process. Plastic bag recycling may not be as easy or convenient as other plastic products, but many grocery stores will accept bags from their customers.
Plastic Grocery Bag Recycling
Pill Bottle Recycling: As with plastic bag recycling, recycling pill bottles is not usually as convenient as it is with products like water bottles and milk jugs. While many curbside programs won’t accept these small, orange polypropylene containers, Tri-Power Recycling will take and recycle them.

Before recycling your pill bottles you will want to empty and rinse out the bottle to ensure there’s no residue left behind from your prescription.

You should also remove the stickers and labels from the bottle to ensure you keep your personal information private.
Pill Bottles Can Be Recycled
Plastic Container Recycling: When it comes to plastic containers, things can get a bit tricky. Most plastic containers are safe to be recycled providing they do not have any food or other residue on them. If you have questions about your plastic containers or any of your other waste, contact your local recycling facility. For our customers in and around the Elkhart, Indiana area, please contact us at Tri-Power Recycling with any questions you have about recycling.

It is very important to recycle everyday plastics like water bottles, yogurt cups, and soft drink/juice bottles because the demand for these items is so high. By turning a yogurt cup into a toothbrush or a juice container into a piece of a suitcase, the life of the plastic is increased and the need to create more plastic is reduced. When we recycle everyday products, we all do our part in building a healthier world.
Plastic Container Recycling

Advancements in Plastic Recycling

The future is looking brighter and brighter when it comes to recycling. Recent advancements in a technique called “chemical recycling” are showing great promise in bringing the plastic industry closer to becoming a closed loop. Chemical recycling allows for products, both easy and difficult to recycle, to be broken down to their building blocks and fed back into plastic factories almost identical to a new piece of plastic.

Currently, the degradation of resin properties through traditional plastic recycling means that recycled products grow less and less useful as they repeat the recycling process. Innovative processes like chemical recycling avoid downcycling and polymer degradation, allowing the plastic to stay more useful for even longer.

Researchers believe that as chemical recycling becomes more commonplace that within just a few decades half of all plastic waste could be fed reliably back into plastic production.

Also on the horizon for plastic recycling is the idea of expanding energy recovery—that is, turning waste back into useable forms of energy. If current research into energy recovery continues, waste plastic could become a major form of fuel to power our cars. Removing more excess waste from landfills to fuel the automotive industry would create more space for nature to reclaim. With additional research into energy recovery, plastic recycling will be more than just turning one product into another, it will be turning one product into fuel for our expanding society.

Why You Should Recycle – Tackling Misinformation

Recycling centers unfortunately receive negative publicity on occasion that people may think of when it comes to recycling responsibly. At Tri-Power Recycling, we are 100% committed to using industry best practices. You can trust our 80+ years of combined experience in the recycling industry to help protect our planet.

Review these facts when deciding if recycling items is important:
  • ENERGY - It takes less energy to create new items from recycled materials than it does to create new products from raw materials.
  • JOBS - The recycling process creates far more jobs than a landfill does. On a per-ton basis, sorting and processing recyclables supports 10 times as many jobs as landfilling or incineration.
  • ECONOMICS - Recycling is often the least expensive waste management method. Many of our programs even allow you to generate revenue for something you would have sent to the landfill as trash.

Commercial Collection and Recycling Services

Tri-Power Recycling has a range of customized collection services for businesses. Our team will evaluate your recycling needs, requirements, and offer quality advice on the best way to improve efficiency of your current waste management program.

Ask us about a recycling audit for your commercial waste. We will review the type and amount of recyclable material at your location, consider your on-site space constraints, and determine equipment needs for your business to create a customized collection schedule for you.

We have many relationships across the globe that allow us to offer your business solutions for efficient and economical waste stream management. Our family owned recycling business has more than eight decades of experience working for you.

Commercial Recycling Options

If your business would like a waste management audit, or to learn how we can partner with you to help you recycle your plastic waste, please visit our Commercial Collection Services page to learn more. Or contact us directly at 574-848-1900 to speak with one of our experienced team members.

Tri-Power Recycling is proud to help local businesses and individuals with their desire to reduce their impact on our landfills by recycling and reusing materials wisely. 

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