Conventional mechanical recycling cleans, crushes and melts down the same type of plastic waste in order to extract newly formed granulate (recyclate). Plastics must be sorted according to type before this process to ensure uniform recyclate is produced. In comparison, recently developed chemical cleaning is far more laborious, yet capable of restoring plastic waste close to its raw-material state. Prior sorting is not required for this process.

Broadly speaking, recyclate is reprocessed plastic that can be reintroduced to the product cycle. Recyclate is melted down as granulate similarly to new materials and fed into a blown, injection moulding or other extrusion process in order to create new products/plastics.

Recyclate can be split into post-consumer (private household waste) and post-industrial(industrial waste) recyclate. Whilst a very high quality standard has been established for post-industrial recyclate, post-consumer recyclate can only be found to a limited extent in shrink and fine shrink films.

In contrast to cardboard, plastics can be recycled time and again without losing any quality.