Amy Choong from Republic Polytechnic was asking me about plastic recycling in Singapore and I mentioned this email from Wong Yueat Tin, one of the ICCS Otters, from 2006. I reproduce it here and hope I can persuade her to do an update soon.
We were then looking into the feasibility of recycling out the plastics from our beach cleanups, some of which does come out pretty clean.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Wong Yueat Tin
Date: Wed, Aug 30, 2006 at 12:13 PM
Subject: Visit to KK Asia Plastic Recycling Factory
We will KIV the plastics recycling for our coastal cleanups, but here’s some relevant and interesting notes.
Huaqin and I went to KK Asia Plastic Recycling Factory (now under SembEnviro) yesterday to discuss the possibility of recycling plastics collected during our coastal cleanups. Since the factory washes the plastics it receives prior to processing them and that same water used is recycled, plastic items we bring to the factory must be free of sand. So we should either set aside only relatively clean plastics during the cleanup or we can set aside plastics and clean them after collection and before sending them to the factory.
Photos of the visit are posted on flickr.
The factory collects all sorts of plastics – according to Mr Anthony Mark Chong, plastics of the same family can be processed together (eg. HDPE and LDPE). The plastic bottles are washed and sheared into flakes, and can be made into pellets. Pellets are sold to Australia and processed to make irrigation pipes.
Plastic bottles are also processed into tubular form in China, which can then be stretched into polyester and made into clothes.
Styrofoam is compressed into brick form which is a material found in the interior of our disposable cutlery. A layer of prime plastic coats the disposable cutlery. So do not bite into them!
Plastic bags (films) are processed into pellets which can then be recycled into black trash bags. These recycled trashbags are sold at a cheaper rate (15 cents per piece) than virgin material (unlike paper).