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How the Credit Crunch is Affecting Recycling

SpecialChem / Mar 16, 2009

Recycling waste plastics is now a very substantial business. The UK currently recycles or recovers approximately 19% of all plastic consumed and this is set to increase to over 25% by 2010. How has the recent 'credit crunch' affected the process? First, let us look at the basics of this truly global business. Recycled plastic is just a commodity like any other. There are 'producers' who gather the waste and in some cases treat it to make it more suitable for processing. Then there are 'industrial consumers' who take the reclaimed plastic and fashion it into the products we all crave. From the time domestic consumers throw away their lemonade bottle until the time they buy their fleece in a clothing shop, the material is likely to have been half way round the world. Yet surprisingly, this still makes economic and environmental sense. As with any manufacturing process, the lowest cost solution is the one that is often favoured and goods made from plastic are no exception. It is a huge generalisation but recently China has been one of the countries that have been most able to produce what the West needs at an acceptable cost.

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