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Where Does All the Coroplast Go?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Awesome Graphics, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    If your shops are anything like mine, you have been going through sheet after sheet of coroplast with graduation, healthcare and re-opening business signage this year. Not to mention all the political signs starting to roll in.

    Years ago, I brought samples of all of our most common materials to our local dump to see what could and could not be recycled. I was happy to find out that most of our vinyl backing paper was recyclable. I was not so psyched to hear that coroplast was not.

    Has anyone else here checked it out with their transfer station? Is mine an outlier or is coroplast really not generally recyclable? The thought of thousands of signs every year from our shop, not to mention millions worldwide, ending up in a landfill is pretty depressing.

    Do I have a bum dump or is this typical? Has anyone found a way to reuse or recycle signs?
     
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  2. The Yanki & The Brit

    The Yanki & The Brit The Yanki & The Brit Signs and Radio Show

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    Ya know, good question.
    There are a number of scale railroaders, 7.25 and 7.5" scale, that make their own rail ties from plastic.
    I wonder if this plastic would work for that?
    I'm gonna check that out.
    I found this out...
    Polypropylene is recyclable through some curbside recycling programs, but only about 3% of PP products are currently being recycled in the US. Recycled PP is used to make landscaping border stripping, battery cases, brooms, bins and trays. However, #5 plastic is today becoming more accepted by recyclers,
    Coroplast is the trademarked brand name of the world's largest producer of corrugated plastic. Corrugated plastic boards are essentially plastic cardboard, and are made from three layers of thin, polypropylene plastic substrate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
  3. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    Good idea. Let me know. There has to be another use for this stuff.
     
  4. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Are they actually recycling things anymore? A city near us used to recycle but it become too expensive so they just throw the blue bins in with the regular trash.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
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  5. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing

    Plastic is getting harder and harder to recycle. Here's a database you can search to find recycling centers near you: https://search.earth911.com/
     
  6. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    Same thing here we had a large recycling facility and they closed down (it was mostly political BUT still what a waste)
     
  7. binki

    binki Premium Subscriber

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    Here is the book on recycling. Steel and other metals are still recycled because they have value and the process is much cleaner than starting from scratch. All steel made in the United States is recycled. Steel never wears out and can be recycled indefinitely.

    Everything else, pretty much not, although there are some exceptions coming up.

    The problem is that things that are recycled are shipped to another country to do it. As an example, cardboard used to only have to be 95% pure or no more than 5% contaminated. Now it has to be no more than 0.5% contaminated otherwise it won't be accepted. This has caused the price of scrap cardboard to drop below the cost of the fuel to ship it making it worthless.

    Plastic is only valuable if it is clear. What happens with plastic is it is all mixed together and then the output is a muddy grey or black which is unusable for things like food containers. I did see some improvements that remove the color from the plastic during recycling making it a better product to replace virgin plastic but it wasn't widespread. That was a few months ago I saw that.

    When I worked at a printing company a long time ago we scrapped paper and cardboard and had the issue with contamination or contamination claims from the recycler. It is a shady business.

    Now some places like California have tariffs on some materials that inflate the value for recycling. Aluminum cans and plastic bottles have a high value here because the state collects the recycle money and then pays it back out. The recyclers pay a per pound price and take a spread on what they get back. We even have laws here to report anyone recycling certain materials, mostly metals.

    Hope that helps. Just like anything else, supply/demand/government intervention move the market.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. mkmieciak

    mkmieciak Lost Soul

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    Some really ingenious uses on youtube. I saw one for a camping trailer using old political signs that was really cool. I'll look for it later.
     
  9. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    Glass is another material that doesn't wear out and is also used to remake glass. Just not as many things made from glass anymore! When they start up a glass factory they need cullet to get it started.
     
  10. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    When I was in LA last year I heard on the news that people scam the system by bringing in truck loads of cans and bottles from out of state to collect the deposits that were never initially paid.
     
  11. SignMeUpGraphics

    SignMeUpGraphics Moderator

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    Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode... https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0697660
     
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  12. Awesome Graphics

    Awesome Graphics Member

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    Thanks. This about what I expected. It is pretty disappointing. Sounds like raising the demand for black plastic vs clear could help shift things. Crazy that materials are shipped overseas to be recycled, but I guess everything ends up being made in China anyway. You would think there would be more of a benefit to keeping these processes and materials in this country, but I guess $$$ rules.
     
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