Should Water Bottles Be Crushed Before Recycling?


PVC is not biodegradable in normal environments, so recycling it just means that the plastic will stay in a landfill for even longer. There are four processes to recycling PET plastic bottles: washing, crushing, sorting, and other treatments. Washing doesn’t recycle the batch any more than hand-washing does so it’s wasteful. Crushing makes all shreds of unusable but recyclable material about 1/10th the size of what they were before and allows them to be sorted by weight (heavier stuff sinks). Sortation removes everything like metal caps and residual glue before smelting. Next after melting comes extrusion which turns molten plastic into thin strands that can be used to make new bottles.

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