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CLOSED LOOP RECYCLING

V. Ryan 2014

 

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 RECYCLING - SUMMARY
Many products are designed so that they can be recycled, at the end of their useful lifetime. This was not always the case. In the past, products were manufactured largely from new raw materials, mined from the earth’s crust. When they ceased to work, they were ‘dumped’ in a landfill sites, often causing pollution and environmental damage.

By the early of the 1990s, it became undeniable that the earth could not sustain the ‘plundering’ of its limited resources. From copper and paper, to oil and associated fuels, the general public / consumers and even governments, realised that there was an urgent need to conserve our valuable finite resources.

Slowly, the ‘environment’ became a major issue, for designers, politicians and consumers. Today, every house has a range of recycling bins. Everyone plays a part in sorting and recycling aluminium and steel tins, card, paper and plastics.

However hard we try, it is almost impossible to recycle all the materials we use, whether it be packaging or materials from discarded products. Recycling bins and a consumer commitment to recycle is only the start.
 
 
 
Closed Loop recycling
 
 
This leads to the philosophy of ‘Closed Loop Recycling’, which suggests that we should only use materials to manufacture products, that can be continually recycled and reused (100%). Potentially this could ensure future supply of our valuable resources and also protect the environment.

For this to work, there needs to be a change in the way products are designed and manufactured. Designers should select materials, that can be recycle an infinite number of times and be used again and again. The materials are regarded as borrowed, for the length of the products useful working life. When the product is no longer usable / working, every component / part is recycled back into raw materials, ready for the manufacture of a new product.

Closed Loop Recycling normally means, that a company manufactures a product, customers buy the product and then return it at the end of its useful life. The company then recycles all the materials back into the same product, ready for resale. No new raw materials are used in this process. This is a closed system.
 
 
 
EXAMPLE OF A MATERIAL IDEAL FOR CLOSED LOOP RECYCLING
 
PET / PETE is 100% recyclable, making it ideal for closed loop recycling. In this way, PET / PETE is a sustainable material. Most households use plastic recycling bins and help in the sorting process. PET / PETE is lightweight and can be crushed, so that it is easy to collect and transport to recycling plants. PET / PETE can be recycled back, either to its original elements or into other products. It can be used to manufacture a range of useful products, from containers to clothes and carpets. recycling
 
 
 
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