What Is a Plastic Baler?

Malcolm Tatum

A plastic baler is a type of baling equipment that is designed specifically to manage the process of compressing odd pieces of plastic into a cohesive bale. The function of this type of baler makes it possible to easily collect and prepare odd pieces of plastic into a package that can be easily stored or transported. It is not unusual for a plastic baler to be used to collect waste products from a manufacturing operation that can then be sold for use by plastic recyclers, allowing the business to effectively create a small revenue stream from something that would otherwise have been discarded in a landfill.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The function of a plastic baler is the same as any other types of baler. The plastic materials, such as shards of old pieces of plastic that remain from molding plastic products or even old plastic milk jugs are loaded into the chamber of the baler. This may be managed by either manually loading the chamber or using an automated baler that is equipped with a conveyor belt that dumps the materials into a chute that in turn conveys the plastic to the chamber. Once the chamber has reached capacity, the hydraulics within the plastic baler begin to compress the materials into a tight bundle or bail, then apply a covering and strapping to contain the integrity of the finished bale. At that point, the bale is expelled from the chamber, normally moving the finished bale away from the chamber with the use of some type of conveyor.

Choosing the right plastic baler depends on identifying the types of plastics that will be introduced into the machinery. This is important because some forms of plastic are formulated to retain their shape, while others will compress with relative ease. If the goal is to include plastics such as soft drink containers, milk jugs, and other plastics that are likely to resist the compression activity, purchasing a baler that includes additional restraints within the chamber to prevent those products from slipping during compression is necessary. Doing so ensures that all the plastic is compressed tightly and will be restrained by the shell and the strapping placed around the bale.

A plastic baler may be used on-site at a manufacturing plant, but may also be used at recycling centers. In either scenario, the goal is to compress the materials into bales that have a minimum density. From there, the bales can be shipped with ease to companies that use recycled plastic materials to manufacture new goods, often paying a cost that is below the raw materials that would otherwise be necessary for the production process. As a result, the use of the plastic baler helps to reduce the use of new resources while also preventing discarded plastic fragments from ending up in landfills.

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