miércoles, 7 de enero de 2015

RECYCLING PLASTIC


The recycle bin is often the last stop for empty containers. But it also can mark the beginning of a long trip. 
YEHENEW GEDSHEW: "As long as people keep throwing their trash, we've got a job." 
Yehenew Gedshew directs a recycling center near Washington, DC. 
YEHENEW GEDSHEW: "We do about 35 tons of material an hour." How does the center process so much waste? 
YEHENEW GEDSHEW: "First what happens is the dump trucks bring the materials to our site; and they dump it on the tipping floor. It goes to the first screen where the cardboard and the rest of material is sorted out."  
The glass is crushed. Objects made of plastic are sorted and flattened. YEHENEW GEDSHEW: "This is a very sophisticated sorting machine. And that belt brings it down to the bunker, and the plastic goes to the bunker, from the bunker we put it to the baler, and it gets baled and it gets shipped out." 
This recycling center separates all kinds of plastic, papers and glass. 
YEHENEW GEDSHEW: "Since they don't have to sort out their recycles any more, it has made their lives very easy. They throw everything in a ball and then we sort everything out here."
Most of the plastics are taken to a processing center in North Carolina. It is there that old bottles become mountains of plastic -- ready to melt and make into something new. We will take you to the North Carolina recycling center in another report.

 
This is one of the largest plastic recycling plants in the United States. It is in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Jay Chilton is head of the plant. 
JAY CHILTON: "On an average week, we receive anywhere from one to 1.5 million pounds (454,000 to 680,000 kg) of bottles in to the plant."
JAY CHILTON: "We receive eight to ten trucks a day coming into the plant, and a truckload's roughly 40,000 pounds." That is more than 18,000 kilograms of plastic every day.
 JAY CHILTON: "These bales on average are about 900 pounds (400 kg). They can range anywhere from 600 pounds (270 kg) to 1500 pounds (680 kg) in this configuration. This is accumulation of roughly 10 to15 weeks of deliveries." 
 Nearly three football fields of plastic sit just a short ride from the processing center. 
JAY CHILTON: "This is where the whole bottles enter the whole bottle wash -- it's just like your front-end load washing machine at your house. It's just a lot longer, and a lot bigger." Then, the plastic is broken into what the recycling industry calls "flakes." "It's kind of like your flour sifter at home when you're sifting out the big chunks of flour." 
 Large storage areas hold the flakes before they are sent to another center, which will make them into something new. We will show you that next step in our final report on recycling. I'm Mario Ritter.

This is Peninsula Packaging -- a recycling business in the city of Wilson, North Carolina. Mark Rath works for the company. 
MARK RATH: "This is how it comes to us and then we reprocess it into another product." It is here that pieces of plastic become new products. MARK RATH: "Become a plastic sheet, and eventually a thermoform product." Peninsula Packaging melts and flattens plastic so that it can be shaped. 
MARK RATH: "We take the clear chips like this, and it goes into an oven, and it cooks for about three to four hours." Now, it can be molded. MARK RATH: "In order to do that you need to squeeze it out into a wide, long sheet." The plastic is then wrapped, rolled and sent to what is called a "thermoform station." 
MARK RATH: "Well, we unwind the plastic into a very long oven where we heat it -- again -- and then we'll form it in a forming station. We'll follow it through and see what happens to it." 
MARK RATH: "That'll end up being a fresh-cut-salad base. Not sure where it goes, but it'll end up some place with celery and carrots and tomatoes." In just a few days, a plastic bottle purchased in Washington, DC has become a salad container in North Carolina. I'm Mario Ritter.

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