This Old Plastic May Never Die But It'll Get Reprocessed

Every year, tons and tons of plastic insulation get scraped off old electrical wire and telephone cables. The metal is easy to recycle, but the plastic is usually hauled off to landfills. Now, two Ohio companies--B. F. Goodrich Co.'s Geon Vinyl Div. in Cleveland and Plastics Recovery Systems Inc. (PRS) in Toledo--have developed a way to curb this waste. And I. Waxman & Sons Ltd., a metals-reclaimer in Hamilton, Ontario, aims to put their technologies to work.

Waxman is building a new plant to recover 45 million pounds of plastics annually from chopped-up wire and cable. The mixed plastic will then be segregated by polymer type, using techniques patented by PRS. Most of what's recovered will be polyvinyl chloride, which will be reprocessed by Goodrich into pellets suitable for making a range of industrial products, including new wire-and-cable insulation. A PRS-Waxman joint venture will do the same for polyethylene, the second-most-prevalent type of plastic insulation.

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