Plastic bags often come with different colors, logos, and other aesthetics printed on them to integrate a business’ brand and design. With so many variations of colors and inks used, it might appear complicated for one facility to efficiently recycle many different kinds of colored plastic bags. Yet employees at Hilex who work to recycle plastic bags in our Bag-2-Bag program have mastered this process by following this very efficient protocol:
- First, the plastic bags are shredded and washed to remove large impurities
- We then heat the plastic at a very high temperature, which melts it and produces recycled pellets. During this process, the material is sterilized and less stable parts of the ink vaporize. Most inorganic pigments in the inks pass through and become part of the plastic color. We may add other pigments in final processing to achieve a specific color.
- To be safe, we always check for the presence of heavy metals to ensure that the new recycled bags are not contaminated with these specific toxins.
- The recycled pellets are then run through an extrusion process, just like the typical plastic bag manufacturing process, and are used to make new plastic bags.
Recycling plastic bags with ink can seem complex at times, but with an effective process, state of the art technology and amazing staff it’s a piece of cake!