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UBIQUITOUS. That’s one of the words most often used to describe plastic products. Over the years, as more and more products become plastic-based because of the lower cost, there have been increased calls to recycle plastics.
Businesses, too, are looking into recycling plastics. But not so much for the love of the environment.
Federlite Sdn Bhd general manager Mok Zheng Hao notes that defect rates for plastic products are relatively high at 5%-10%.
“The rejects can be crushed and recycled to make new products so that we don’t waste the materials,” he says.
Apart from reducing wastage, recycling plastics also reduces the cost of materials quite significantly.
According to Mok, polypropylene, its raw materials, costs about RM5-RM6 per kg. Recycled materials could cost about half of that, which would have benefited plastic products manufacturing businesses over the past few years when oil prices were trading at record highs.
Although oil prices have come down significantly, trading around US$40-US$50 per barrel in recent months, prices were above US$80 for the most parts of late 2007 to late 2014.
Mok says prices of materials increased correspondingly.
It was tough, he adds.
As margins for plastic products were already low, producers found it difficult to make reasonable price adjustments that could accommodate the increased cost.
“So we recycle our own products as much as we can,” he says.
“Plastic is an interesting product. You can always make something else with it.”