Mechanical Recycling vs. Chemical Recycling

As we continue to move towards more sustainable practices, recycling remains at the forefront of most consumer minds. However, did you know that not all flexible packaging recycling is created equal? There are two different kinds – mechanical and chemical. Let’s dive deeper into the differences between them, as well as the types of products that fit into each category. 

While the term mechanical recycling isn’t widely known, it is more likely the type of recycling that is the most familiar when it comes to waste disposal. Not only is this method well-established in the industry, but it is also widely practiced by the public. This approach relies on processes like grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating, and compounding to create raw materials that can be used in manufacturing.  

And while chemical recycling is also not widely known, the technology has been in use for decades. A more recent use of this methodology, however, has been created to address the limitations of mechanical recycling for plastic and multi-material packaging. This practice involves breaking down the packaging, including plastic polymers, through various synthetic techniques to produce high-quality recycled materials. Chemical recycling also provides the opportunity to process a wide variety of plastics and packaging that would otherwise end up in landfills. 

Recycling can be challenging. Check out How2Recycle.com to learn about the different recycling options and how to read product labels.  

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