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Markets for Rigid Plastics

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    406Refining started this thread.
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    Markets for Rigid Plastics

    Hey everyone, Hope your week is going well.

    I have recently been looking into what it would take to accumulate plastic from scrapping and sell it to a buyer. The plastics in question are PS, PP, ABS, etc. The best I was able to find so far was a company that required a minimum quantity of 10K pounds. If anyone has any leads on some smaller quantity buyers (2-5K pounds) I would greatly appreciate it!

    A little background of what currently happens: Montana is one of those states that is less strict on what happens to plastic. It's just far enough away to make it challenging for shipping to any port. Currently, the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) considers plastic to be solid waste which means it can go to the landfill. While that makes the disposal easy I would much rather send it to a recycler if that option is available.



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    Quote Originally Posted by 406Refining View Post
    Hey everyone, Hope your week is going well.

    I have recently been looking into what it would take to accumulate plastic from scrapping and sell it to a buyer. The plastics in question are PS, PP, ABS, etc. The best I was able to find so far was a company that required a minimum quantity of 10K pounds. If anyone has any leads on some smaller quantity buyers (2-5K pounds) I would greatly appreciate it!

    A little background of what currently happens: Montana is one of those states that is less strict on what happens to plastic. It's just far enough away to make it challenging for shipping to any port. Currently, the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) considers plastic to be solid waste which means it can go to the landfill. While that makes the disposal easy I would much rather send it to a recycler if that option is available.
    You're going to have a difficult time with this. You've already found out that most companies don't want to talk to you unless you have a minimum 10k pounds. Most companies don't deal in mixed loads. There are also numerous different blends if PP, PS, and ABS. You'll want to find a company that is able to test your mix of each different kind and reblend them to get the desired blend. I did recently come across a company in Ontario that was buying mixed computer plastic from shredding operations. They also have a sister company in Western NY. They were only offering 3 cents per pound. Take trucking into account and you lose money. There are a few other companies that may be a possiblity. I'll try to remember tonight and shoot you a PM.

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    Here you get whole .3 per pound on ABS if the colors aren't mixed and it's shredded. Seeing as how .3 wouldn't cover my fuel a shredder is out of the question.

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    I commend you on your vision to try something new and different. In my opinion, plastic recycling is not profitable at this time. You have to remember your time is valuable. Also logistic costs can sometimes turn a nice profit into a loss.

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    Yeah, unless you have a rural out building somewhere close by where you can store that stuff until you have the large amounts, I think you're probably screwed and its landfill material. Too bad because there is a lot of empty space in many parts of MT where such plastic could be stored to gain volume and it wouldn't inconvenience anyone at all.

    Here's a totally off the wall idea, and I've never tried it so don't know how much more of a hassle being "publicly known" it would be. Get the local media to cover your efforts and idea and then do a "Go Fund Me" page to cover the logistics, especially transportation costs, to recycle the plastic. People will fund about anything and some may view your desire valiant enough to pay you from their credit card to try doing "outback" plastic recycling. Good luck!!

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    Several years ago, I cleaned out the back lots of two sign companies and ended up with several thousand pounds of acrylic. It was all the same flat sign material but mixed colors. We found a buyer at 5 cents per pound, but they only bought container loads which had to weigh 40,000 lbs. After searching for extra acrylic to add to our load and hand stacking this stuff; we ended up with 38,000 lbs worth about $1,900.

    Hoping that would be good enough we shipped it to Mobile, AL port. After it was barged away, got a letter stating that the load didn't meet the weight requirements and they wouldn't pay at all. We tried to talk reasonably with the company, but they weren't budging, so we took it to court. My Dad got some kind of judgement, but I can't remember how much only it was about half the value. I don't think they ever payed any of the judgement.


    Since then, I haven't been too excited about plastics recycling. It's bulky and too hard to get a load into a container. The buyers are very picky about mixed plastics or any foreign material. Lastly, but importantly, I didn't get paid the last time around. If you have a lot of time, a ready supply, and good storage, it could work. Be careful your time and money costs don't exceed your profits.

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    I consider myself lucky if I can find someone who will take it for free.

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    Don't take this the wrong way but 38,000lbs was not 40,000 so really don't think you had a leg to stand on in court
    BUYING ALL COMPUTER SCRAP WORKING OR NOT
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    Yes, that's true. I thought at the time that I might get a dockage for not meeting the preferred weight, not a complete denial of any payment when they accepted our shipment with no return possible.

    I guess my point is to be careful when dealing with bulky, labor intensive, low-priced materials.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pnutfarmer View Post
    Yes, that's true. I thought at the time that I might get a dockage for not meeting the preferred weight, not a complete denial of any payment when they accepted our shipment with no return possible.

    I guess my point is to be careful when dealing with bulky, labor intensive, low-priced materials.
    Either way good lesson for anyone who aspires to reach that much weight of any material thanks for your testimony

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    I'd put an ad on CL, to see if anyone was already bulking it and moving it along. At least, they might pick up for free. I've looked into Scrapo, an online plastic brokerage but haven't made any headway on it. we don't generate enough of anything to catch anyone's eye on that platform. But you might find someone near you either buying or processing.

    I don't know with whom you've already spoken but Pacific Steel & Recycling seems to be taking a few kinds of plastic and has locations in and around Montana. I would check with them, first. We deal with Canusa Hershman in our operations but they are largely on the East Coast. You can look into their outfit, though. I've also heard good things about QRS and they specialize in mixed rigids. Also, see if Vikoz has an office near you. They deal in both US and Canadian material and can probably see you in the right direction. Honestly, you might have more luck with someone in Alberta or BC, as Canada seems to have a more vigorous, better subsudized industry. Those tariffs, tho...

    As far as grading, if you can concretely identify PP and PC, separate them. They are higher-value plastics common to appliances. I've found that everything else pretty much goes along as a very low mixed grade of material. HDPE is less common in appliances but more valuable than the other two.

    I think your main issue will be how to bale it. Very few buyers I know will play ball when the plastics are loose.

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    One of the guys at my full time job used to be part owner of a family owned plastic injection molding company. For over a year, he has been saying that he thought there was good money in the computer plastics that I have. This week, he said he had a local buyer for shredded fire resistant ABS. Apparently the buyer would be interested in 1000 pounds or more. Prices were higher than probably half of non-ferrous commodities.

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    I'm in Florida and continually accumulate a lot of rigid plastic, primarily the outer shells from dehumidifiers. I still havn't found a single buyer within the state that would be interested in as much as a "single garage full". When it comes right down to it, that still does not amass to a great deal of weight. Furthermore, the range of code numbers among all the various pieces would seem to an unbelievable task of separating it all. Off to the landfill it goes.

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    Plastics have a place, but there are so many things that could be made with metals...and used to be. The only thing that will stop this is a tariff of sorts on plastics that basically make it the same cost as metals. At least we can recycle those easily. Plastics are largely an economic falsehood.

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    I think that there was a market for computer ABS when oil was high but that market is so weak now no one seems to want to deal with the ABS so I send it to the transfer station that supplies the high tech trash to energy plant with the rest by the coast. It burns. It burns
    Remember... wherever you go... there you are

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    I would check with your scrap yards and see how much plastic/metal mix is acceptable for shred..........Most things are made of plastic anyway these days so I have just been trying to make a good mixture of metal/plastic and taking it to the yard.........If plastic is excessive some may have to go to landfill


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