You may not believe this but the jersey of India’s cricket team is made from plastic. This is just one of the examples of plastic bottles being recycled for other useful purposes. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles are crushed and then processed to create useful products that includes fabric for t-shirts, scarves, denims and pillows.
According to scientists at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), fabric created from PET bottles can be a booming industry. In a first-of-its-kind study undertaken by NCL, it was estimated that the industry has the potential to generate Rs 3,496 crore per year. It can also increase employment opportunities for at least 16,000 people. With idea of recycling PET bottles, India has joined a global league.
From 2015 to 2016, India has produced about 1,500 kilo tonnes of PET. There are ample resources in India for plastic recycling particularly since it is also importing PET from China and Taiwan. Plastic waste is a common problem for those who are involved in town planning and solid waste management but PET bottle recycling will provide the solution after plastic waste products have been appropriately segregated.
After PET bottles have been segregated from solid waste, the bottles pass a series of processes that include sorting, selection and segregation according to colour, aluminium caps, rings and PVC material. In order to create the desired type of fabric, PET bottles are chemically treated after the washing process. At least 70% of the recycled PET materials are returned to the supply chain.
It is interesting to note that the prices of PET bottles have gone up at every stage. The base price which starts at Rs 15 per kilogram can go up to as much as Rs 150 per kilogram by the time the recycler purchases it. However, it is important for PET bottles to be sorted and segregated before they finally reach the recyclers.
In order for plastic to be recycled effectively, a recycler needs plastic granulator machines that have been designed for the most demanding applications in the industry. There is a wide range of granulator machines to choose from according to the kind of plastic material that will be processed.