Optimizing How Plastic Recycling Works for W/DCs

Optimizing How Plastic Recycling Works for W/DCs

By AAA Polymer | Plastics Recycling

Feb 26

If you own or manage a warehouse, distribution center, or similar facility, it makes dollars and sense for you to know how plastic recycling works!

Considering the primary stream of waste in warehouses, distribution centers, and shipping facilities is stretch film, implementing a plastic stretch film recycling program can result in ample savings and make a serious positive environmental impact.

At AAA Polymer, we regularly help businesses, facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers (W/DCs) throughout the tri-state area implement stretch film recycling programs that result in real cost savings. We will guide you through the process and provide the support to make sure you're maximizing your savings. 

Don't hesitate to give us a call today to schedule your free on-site consultation and analysis. In the meantime, continue reading to learn how plastic recycling works for warehouses and distribution centers. 

How Plastic Recycling Works for Warehouses and Distribution Centers?

The process for plastic recycling is very similar to all other materials. It will typically follow some variation of the following steps:

  • Collection: As the name suggests, this step involves the collection of plastic recyclable material. Once you collect a sufficient amount of plastic stretch films or plastic scrap, simply contact AAA Polymer to schedule a pickup. We'll arrive at your facility to collect your plastic scraps, and this is the last step you'll be required to take.
  • Sorting: The actual process of plastic recycling begins with sorting. All plastic recyclable materials are sorted by their color, resin content, and other factors. This critical step helps to make sure all contaminants are effectively eliminated.
  • Shredding: This step involves the plastics being cut into tiny pieces or chunks. Whether it's plastic containers, stretch wraps, or bottles, the plastic materials are ground and cut into flakes.
  • Melting: The cleaned and dried flakes are then melted down and processed into either granule or molded into a new shape.
  • Creation of Pellets: Once the pellets have been made, they are ready to be redesigned or used in the manufacturing of new products.

Collection Strategies for Warehouses and Distribution Centers

If you operate a warehouse or distribution center, it's all about the collection strategies you use. Here are a few tried, tested, and proven collection strategies you can use to optimize your plastic recycling. 

  • Collection containers for stretch wrap and the stretch film should all be conveniently located and clearly labeled to accommodate the operations of the warehouse or distribution center.
  • Stretch films should be removed from pallets as they come in close proximity to the receiving area. If this is your strategy, make sure you have special containers near the receiving areas.
  • Pallets that are wrapped can be moved to other areas immediately. The film can be removed afterward once the pallets are broken down. To recover this stretch wrap, it's important to have the containers located within close proximity.
  • Trim scraps and roll-ends can be recovered in the shipping area where pallets are wrapped for shipment.
  • Avoid using "Plastics Only" labels because they will attract all types of plastics. Instead, it's best to designate "Stretch Film" or "Stretch Wrap" labels to clearly designate the purpose of the receptacle.

Helping Employees Stick to the Recycling Plan 

Your employees are your first and last line of defense for your recycling plan. It's of the utmost importance your team understands how plastic recycling works as well as the importance of the initiative. 

If your employees throw valuable plastic scraps in with the trash or vice versa, it can reduce the overall effectiveness of your stretch film recycling initiative and reduce savings. Here are a few tips to help your employees stick to the recycling plan:

  • Educate your employees on the importance of the initiative for the local environment, local economy, and the company's bottom line.
  • Strongly discourage the use of recycling containers as trash cans or receptacles — particularly among those employees who aren't directly involved with the program.
  • Inspire and motivate your employees by demonstrating to them how their individual efforts make a bigger impact.
  • Underscore that paper labels and tape should be removed.
  • Make recycling a cultural event by supporting more sustainable practices throughout the business.
  • Help engage your employees by offering an incentive for hitting recovery goals.

In addition, it's important to make a commitment to ongoing employee education for long-term success.

The Key to Quality Control 

One of the keys to quality control is to engage all vendors. In fact, quality control should start prior to the pallet arriving on your receiving dock. A few tips include:

  • Enlist the help of your vendors and explain the specifications of your stretch wrap recycling program.
  • Ask your vendors to keep labels and tape off of the stretch wrap.
  • Request vendors do not use tinted film
  • Share the success of your program and communicate the vital role they play in making a difference.

Contact AAA Polymer to Begin Your Commercial Recycling Service

If you manage or own a W/DC, stretch film recycling is an excellent way to save money, improve your organizational culture, and make a real difference in your community. 

Contact AAA Polymer today to learn how we can help optimize your program.

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