Topic 3 Recycled products

Let’s go on and watch a related video about a recycling company called Repreve.

Recycle on a large scale? And for what?

The company Repreve gives a very interesting inside on the topic.

After you have watched the video,

  • Take a moment to reflect on it. Think on how you find the use of this recycling practice of recycling products end-of-life into different products.
  • Search online 5 examples of companies that use recycling for producing different products, as Reprieve does (plastic bottles into clothes).
  • Search online 5 examples of companies that use recycling for producing the same products (i.e., aluminium cans are recycled by a company into new aluminium cans).

Basically, there are two different types of recycling and one of them still produce waste (remains open): 

1.Open Loop Recycling: The example of Reprieve belongs here as the company recycles a product into a different product. However, when the jacket made from plastic bottles eventually comes to its end-of-life, it cannot be recycled again (only reused). So, the plastic of the original bottle is just delayed into becoming trash.

2.Closed Loop Recycling: With this, a product is recycled into the same product. For example, the aluminum cans are recycled, filled with new product, used and recycled again. This can happen forever, and no waste is produced..

You might think that the second type of recycling is better as it does not produce any waste. However, due to the properties of the materials, which we saw in the first unit, have in mind that some material cannot be used for closed loop recycling. Many type of plastics, paper, or cardboards, can only be recycled once while the aluminum, glass and some other types of plastics can be recycled again and again. So, even the open loop recycling seems the second choice, however it helps also into using something more than once, and produce products using fewer natural resources. Many times, things are not so obvious, and we have to search a lot to come to a conclusion.

Recycling companies can play an important role in a circular economy.  Instead of getting ‘raw materials’ from our natural resources, they also act as alternative providers of these ‘raw materials’, providing recycled material to other companies so they can produce new products with the same resources.