Myths and Truths about Recycling Plastics

Mitos e Verdades sobre a Reciclagem de Plásticos

Willing to stimulate the increase of plastic recycling through population awareness campaigns, the management committee of Movimento Plástico Transforma (MPT) selected 5 myths and truths about plastic recycling, distributed in a press release.

A survey commissioned by the Plastics Chain Incentive Plan (PICPlast) showed that only 23.4% of post-consumer plastic waste was recycled in Brazil in 2021, a number that shows the way to go.

See below the list of Myths and Truths prepared by the MPT:

1 - All types of plastic are recyclable.

Myth: Although a good part of this type of material can be recycled, not all of them can. Among the plastic products that can be sent for recycling are those used in packaging for cleaning products, bottles, milk and yogurt packaging, cups, plates and cutlery.

2nd - Is it necessary to wash the packages before discarding them?

Truth: It is not necessary to deep clean the waste, just wash it, for example, while the dishes are rinsed or using reused water from washing clothes. Washing post-consumer waste avoids bad smells, the proliferation of vectors and helps sorting processes in cooperatives and recycling.

3rd - Recycled plastic is not as good as the original.

Neither myth nor truth: As there are different types of plastic, each one has a different recycling potential. In general, the more rigid plastics are easier to be sorted and can be recycled and transformed into raw material with a quality close to that of virgin resin. For flexible packaging, which is commonly composed of various types of plastic materials, with different functionalities to protect the packaged product, sorting is more difficult.

4 - To be recycled, plastic needs to be in perfect condition.

Myth: Before sending it to selective collection, plastic waste must be kneaded so that it takes up as little space as possible. This in no way compromises the recyclability of the waste. Plastic waste, when recycled, is first ground, washed and dried and then heated until melting and granulated for further transformation into new plastic products.

5th - If your neighborhood does not have selective collection, there is no way to recycle plastic.

Myth: The implementation of selective collection is mandatory in municipalities, according to the PNRS, but many still do not follow this guideline. There are voluntary delivery points (PEVs) in several cities installed in supermarkets and retail stores. Thus, it is possible to dispose of them in the respective containers. You can also search for recycling cooperatives near you, as they exist in many cities. In addition to cooperatives, there are specialized companies that remove selected materials and send them to recycling plants through contracts or requests.

Learn more about recycling plastics from the MPT website:

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