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This article discusses postconsumer plastics recyclate quantities, the classification of plastics recycling into primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary categories, and how the life cycle of plastics is affected by recycling. The recycling processes of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which accounts for the largest percentage of plastic recycling, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics, the other large-volume plastic recyclate, as well as vinyl resins and polycarbonate resins are described. The life cycle of plastics has four phases: poly formation, part fabrication, product service, and disposal. Landfilling is still the primary method of final disposal, and incineration is another option, but recycling has become a viable alternative. The article presents a comparison between secondary and tertiary recycling.

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Ronald L. Walling, Ray Ehrig, Recycling of Plastics, Engineered Materials Handbook Desk Edition, Edited By Michelle M. Gauthier, ASM International, 1995, p 292–296,

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