Primary recycling, also known as mechanical
recycling or closed-loop recycling, is one of the most common and widely
practised recycling methods worldwide. It offers several advantages in that it
is cost-effective and reduces the demand for new production from virgin
In this article, we’ll take a look at
primary recycling, the materials that it is suitable for and the advantages and
limitations of this type of recycling method.
At Gradeall, we are committed to promoting
responsible and sustainable waste management solutions and working towards a
more circular economy. We manufacture innovative machinery that streamlines the
recycling process for a range of different materials.
Primary recycling, also known as mechanical
recycling or closed-loop recycling, refers to the process of reusing waste
materials by converting them back into their original form or similar products
without undergoing significant changes in their chemical composition.
This recycling method involves collecting,
sorting, and processing recyclable materials, such as plastics, metals, or
paper, and converting them into new products or materials of the same type.
Primary recycling is a well-established
practice that’s used throughout the world, there are many benefits for pursuing
this type of recycling method, including;
Landfills can have detrimental effects on
the environment and some materials can even take hundreds of years to
decompose. Primary recycling keeps waste out of landfills and promotes a more
Primary recycling has a well-developed
infrastructure in many countries, with collection systems, sorting facilities,
and recycling plants already in place to process recyclable materials.
Primary recycling also reduces the demand
for the production of virgin materials, resulting in lower greenhouse gas
emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. By reusing materials, primary
recycling helps to conserve natural resources such as energy, water, and raw
Primary recycling is often cost-effective
compared to other recycling methods. It allows for the direct conversion of
waste materials into new products or materials without extensive processing or
chemical transformations that are often required from other methods such as
With primary recycling, the materials go through
a shorter and less complex recycling loop, allowing for more direct conversion
There is also a growing consumer awareness
and demand for sustainable practices, including recycling. Businesses that
adopt this method in the production of their products appeal to this
demographic and position themselves as a responsible and
Primary recycling has its limitations,
particularly in terms of the quality of the recycled material. Each time a
material goes through the recycling process, it may lose some of its original
properties or level of quality.
It is also important to note that not all
materials can be effectively recycled through this method. Some materials, such
as certain types of plastics or mixed-material packaging, may require
alternative recycling methods or technologies.
Additionally, the effectiveness of primary
recycling also depends on factors such as waste management policies, public
participation, and industry collaborations within each country or region.
However, as the technology evolves for waste management solutions, this should
become a more accessible, convenient and popular method for managing waste.
If you would like to speak to someone about
enhancing the recycling process within your operation, you can speak to
someone at the Gradeall team. We will help you identify practical
solutions for enhanced productivity and efficiency in waste management.
Primary recycling typically begins with
collecting and sorting recyclable waste. This can be simplified with recycling
machines such as balers, that are designed to condense the material into easily
transported bales, i.e.) a clothing baler or can
The waste is then sent to a recycling
facility that will clean the materials to remove any impurities or
contaminants. The materials are then melted, shredded, or otherwise transformed
to create raw materials that can be used in the production of new items.
For example, plastic bottles may be melted
down and reprocessed to produce new plastic bottles or aluminium cans may be
melted and reshaped into new aluminium cans.
Primary recycling is a versatile option for
managing waste sustainably. It is able to recycle a range of different
Waste paper and cardboard is suitable for primary recycling. The paper is collected, sorted, and processed to remove ink, staples, and other contaminants. It is then mixed with water to form a pulp, which is dried and pressed into new paper products.
Aluminium cans, steel containers, or other metal products can undergo primary recycling. The metals are collected, sorted, and melted to create ingots or billets. These can be used as raw materials for manufacturing new metal products, such as cans, car parts, or construction materials.
At Gradeall, we have manufactured the Tyre Rim Separator, which allows tyre handlers to extract
valuable waste steel or alloy. It can then be sold on to recycling operations,
which will pursue primary recycling methods with the waste metal.
Plastic bottles, containers, or packaging can be collected, sorted, and mechanically recycled. They are typically cleaned, shredded, and melted to create plastic pellets or flakes. These recycled materials can then be used to produce new plastic bottles, containers, or other plastic products. Nestle for example, now makes their water bottles from 100% recycled plastic.
Glass bottles, jars, or other glass items can undergo primary recycling. The glass is collected, sorted by colour, and crushed into small pieces called cullets. The cullet is melted at high temperatures and moulded into new glass bottles or other glass products.
Certain types of textile materials, such as
cotton or wool, can be mechanically recycled. The textiles are collected,
sorted, and processed to remove impurities and processed into fibres. These
fibres can be used to make new fabrics or blended with other materials for
various textile applications.
At Gradeall, we manufacture
industry-leading machinery that streamlines the waste management process. We
are committed to working towards a more sustainable future that is supported by
efficient and profitable solutions.
If you want to improve your waste
management operation get in contact with Gradeall and we will be
happy to support you with expert advice and honest opinion.
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