One of the most unfortunate misconceptions about polypropylene woven bags is that they cannot be recycled. However, this is not true. These bags can indeed be recycled, repurposed, or reused many times over.
Generally, plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to decompose entirely if left outside or in a landfill. However, recycling these bags can contribute to a more sustainable industry.
Let’s examine the recyclability of polypropylene bags and how to recycle them correctly.
Polypropylene is widely used in a variety of different plastic products. When done correctly, polypropylene can most certainly be recycled. However, many recycling facilities struggle to recycle polypropylene bags because they lack the necessary equipment for this particular application. Recycled plastic bags can sometimes cause the recycling plants to jam up, which slows the process and causes downtime. As such, generally, only high-density polypropylene bags are recycled.
However, specialised polypropylene recycling depots with the right equipment can recycle these bags. Most metropolitan areas around South Africa have these depots.
When polypropylene woven bags are recycled, workers first shred them into tiny pieces. These shredded parts are then heated and melted down into plastic pellets. Once in pellet form, the polypropylene can be repurposed for new polypropylene products or extruded into fibres.
If fed into a heated extruder to make fibres, these fibres can be rewoven to form woven polypropylene bags once more. Sometimes, these fibres are sold to textile companies that make other kinds of woven polypropylene products.
It Needs To Be Clean
Recycling polypropylene bags becomes difficult when they are dirty. Therefore, it is critical that any polypropylene bags that are sent to a recycling depot be thoroughly cleaned beforehand and are made free from any contaminants, particularly food-related or otherwise.
If bags are dirty, it contaminates the recycling process and significantly reduces the value and usability of the final recycled materials.
When bags are delivered to the depot filled with dirt and other contaminants, it complicates the recycling process as it requires extra sorting and cleaning. This raises the cost of recycling and makes it financially unviable.
As a result, contaminated bags are often tossed aside and go to the landfill anyway. To avoid this, before delivering woven polypropylene bags to a recycling drop-off point or a recycling depot, you should first clean them thoroughly to ensure that they are recycled as intended.
Reuse Is Always An Option
While recycling is possible, it is also feasible to reuse woven polypropylene bags often. Their renowned durability ensures they can be repurposed many times before eventually reaching the end of their life.
This is the more economical option, as it will help you avoid purchasing new polypropylene bags as often. Reusing your bags saves the environment and helps reduce your costs.
Here at Tufbag, we supply a range of recyclable polypropylene woven bags. Contact us to find out more about our extensive product range and how it might benefit your operations!