Magazine article USA TODAY

Identifying Plastics for Easy Sorting

Magazine article USA TODAY

Identifying Plastics for Easy Sorting

Article excerpt

A device designed to identify plastics quickly and easily so they can be sorted for recycling has been developed by researchers at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. It could help to save billions of pounds of plastics that are landfilled or incinerated every year, suggests Edward Grant, professor of chemistry.

"One of the primary obstacles in recycling today is the lack of sufficient means to avoid cross-contamination during collection. Polymers of different composition are incompatible when melted together, and a ton of mixed plastic is a ton of garbage."

The RP-1 Polymer Identification System "can be used to sort plastic components in cars, synthetic fiber resins in carpets, and a number of plastics used in the building and construction industry. It also can be used to sort plastic films, such as those found in dry cleaning bags, shrink wrap, and packaging material." Only a small fraction of these materials are being recycled, primarily because of difficulties in identifying and separating the various types of plastics, Grant points out. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.