Thousands of businesses use third parties to dispose of recyclable plastic waste. These fall into the two broad categories of recycling companies and plastic recycling brokers. In this article we discuss the differences between the two types of business and why it matters.
Plastic Recycling Brokers
A plastic recycling broker will present their services as a recycling solution, and from your perspective it is, but they will not conduct the recycling themselves. Instead, they conduct material brokerage, connecting their clients – usually vendors, raw material suppliers and manufacturers around the world – with recyclable materials. They source these materials from, among other things, commercial plastic waste, in return for which they offer you a brokerage fee or rebate.
Some important things to bear in mind when working with a recycling broker:
- Brokers seek out materials that are in demand with their clients. This can include hard to find materials and rare plastics, so if you are lucky you could get a very good rate for some scrap materials. On the other hand, it means that brokers are fussy about the plastics they accept. They won’t take all your types of plastic scrap. The prices they offer and the waste they accept will change over time based on market demand.
- A broker will rarely just specialise in plastics. They may offer a range of waste brokerage services, alongside consulting and logistics services. This gives them flexibility but means they may not be knowledgeable about specific areas of plastic recycling that could help save you time and money.
- Once you sell your scrap to a broker, you lose track of where it ends up. Is this important? Yes – because you have no control over how the broker’s clients treat your waste. It could be used in industry, or it could wind up in a landfill site, or incinerated, or dumped into the sea. You simply don’t know, and if branded scrap was traced back to you, it is your reputation on the line, not the broker.
Plastic Recycling Companies
A plastic recycling company also arranges sorting and collection of plastic scrap, but the difference is they conduct some or all of the recycling process themselves. Some recycling companies outsource processing to 3rd parties, but many have processing facilities here in the UK that you may choose to view. Some companies sell recycled plastic material to international buyers for commercial use, but they do not simply source plastic materials on behalf of clients like brokers do. The end goal is always to recycle the plastic into reusable raw materials.
Other features that set recycling companies apart from brokers include:
- A plastic recycling company will accept a wider scope of plastics, as they are not dependent on commercial demand. For instance, we accept many different grades of plastic, including low-grade substances that would not yield a high price for a broker, such as jazz (mixed colour) plastic film.
- You will find greater stability of prices, with guaranteed rebate levels for different grades of plastic.
- As the focus is recycling, they will not only help you with waste management but also in compliance with environmental legislation.
- Reputable plastic recycling companies, such as Recycled UK, will give you a full process audit for every step of the journey, so you can be sure your scrap is transported, stored and destroyed according to UK and EU standards. Your branded packaging will not appear on News At Ten in an Indian landfill site!
- Some businesses offer additional services, such as secure destruction for plastic data bearing components, such as CDs and hard drives, or a grinding service, whereby plastic scrap is granulated into reusable particles and returned to you for reuse.
Choosing The Right Service
From a user perspective there are similarities between brokers and recycling companies. Both types of business can help you implement an effective recycling strategy, transform scrap plastic into revenue and streamline your waste management. But, as we have seen, the way to be sure of the best long-term reliability and transparency is to work with a recycling specialist.
How To Get The Best Value From Plastic Waste
To get the best rate for your plastic and be assured of ethical disposal, it’s important to select the right recycling strategy and the best partners for your business. Download our Plastic Recycling Rebate Guide for all the information you need to make an informed decision. Access a free copy today by clicking here.