Your average person on the street thinks of plastic recycling only in terms of water bottles and kitchen food containers. People really have no idea what industrial plastic recycling is all about. They also don’t know much about how the process works. That’s fine, as long as our customers continue selling us their plastic waste.
The best way to understand what we do in Michigan, Missouri, and five other states is to think of it as repurposing and reusing on an industrial scale. We do not break industrial plastics down into their base components and then use them to create new products. We essentially grind industrial plastic waste and sell it to companies that mix it with virgin plastic in their manufacturing processes.
The one exception here is PET, which we recycle in the form of already baled plastic bottles. We purchase bales in order to sell the recycled material to manufacturers who break the material down and use it in any number of different ways. Recycled PET can become anything from new plastic bottles to a space-age thread for clothing and carpet manufacturing.
Repurposing and Reusing
Although repurposing and reusing are often considered a form of recycling, they are understood separately because of a few key differences. Repurposing something is using it for something other than its original purpose without altering its form or composition.
For example, you might purchase meat from the local grocery store in plastic tubs. If you were to wash out those tubs and use them to store small items in your garage, you would be repurposing them. You would have found another purpose for them without requiring that you alter them in any way.
To reuse something is to simply put it back into service for its intended purpose. Using the same plastic tubs to store leftover food is an example of reuse. Not only have you not altered the containers, but you also haven’t chosen a different purpose for them either.
Between All Three
What we do at Seraphim Plastics occupies that middle ground between recycling, repurposing, and reusing. What we do overlaps all three categories to some extent. Moreover, we do all three on an industrial scale, utilizing plastics that come from businesses rather than consumers.
You could call what we do recycling in the sense that we do alter the form of the plastic waste we collect. We might purchase pallets of discarded plastic tubs. What do we do with those tubs? We break them down to create what is known as regrind. We run the regrind through a process designed to remove contaminants before selling it to a customer.
What we do could also be considered repurposing to the extent that we are finding a new use for the plastic waste. Plastic that could originally have been in the form of pallets could be reused to make plastic tubs or buckets. It is still the same plastic; it’s just being repurposed for something else.
Finally, you could consider what we do as reusing. The plastic we collect and break down remains the same plastic, just in smaller pieces. It will be reused in conjunction with virgin plastic to create new products. In the end however, the form isn’t necessarily as relevant as the fact that the same plastic is being used over again.
Do we recycle, reuse, or re-purpose? We actually do all three. And we do them on an industrial scale. If you would like to know more about our industrial plastic recycling program, contact us at your leisure. And if you’d like to buy our regrind, let’s talk about your needs.