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Mechanical, energy, or chemical? How do the various methods of recycling work?

Everything begins with properly collecting and sorting your waste, but getting the most out of residues works in a variety of ways. Learn the significance of each recycling step to prevent valuable resources from ending up in a landfill.

Recycling comes in three forms

The three major types of recycling are mechanical, energy, and chemical. Every kind is further broken into minor groups, but understanding them helps us understand how the world processes the majority of its recyclables.

Any of the three major methods of recycling involves three essential stages. First, they are collected and separated based on the waste, i.e., sorting residues by type of material and cleaning level; residue reuse, when the separated material is reverted back into raw material through one of the three above-mentioned procedures; and waste transformation, the final stage, when this raw material becomes a finished product again.

Mechanical recycling

Mechanical recycling is the most widely utilized way for giving wastes new uses, whatever they may be. Plastics derived from industrial scrap or home or commercial disposal are mechanically converted without affecting their chemical structure, allowing them to be utilised to create new materials.

Mechanically recycled plastics are being utilized to manufacture new packages, garbage bags, floors, hoses, and automobile parts, among other things. This is the most widely utilized Polyolefins technology (PE and PP).

Recycling of energy

Energy recycling entails transforming plastic into both thermal and electric energy by harnessing the heat power supplied by these materials in the form of fuel through burning. Energy recycling is significant because it may diversify the energetic matrix while also maximizing the space available in densely populated places with limited landfill space. This solution is widely employed in Europe and Japan, but it is not financially sustainable and necessitates significant investments and the involvement of public bodies.

Recycling of chemicals

Chemical recycling is the most complicated of the three. Plastics are reprocessed and their chemical structure is altered using this technology, allowing them to be employed as raw materials in various sectors or as a basic input in the manufacture of new plastic goods.

Chemical recycling, on the other hand, is more expensive and requires a big amount of plastic to be economically viable.


There is no such thing as a recycling template that is superior to all others. Your best option is determined by the nature of the waste and the state of the local economy.