Recycling Symbol LDPE

Polyethylene film can be reused, i.e. a used film can be made into a "new" film.


In order to achieve this, the "old film" is cut up into small pieces in a system which works like a shredder.

These are melted down in an extruder (cf. chapter "From Polyethylene to Film") and reconstituted to produce film. Unfortunately, during this process, the molecule chains (cf."From Oil to Polyethylene")are "cut up". The properties of the recycled film are such that it is therefore not as strong as a film which contains no old film.


The oil film is, of course, washed prior to reconstitution, but there is always some dirt (e.g. prints) which remains stuck. As the film is produced at very high temperatures, bacteria or germs are killed. Nonetheless, the film still seems duller than a "new" film. Regenerated films are, therefore, often coloured and reconstituted e.g. into blue or black rubbish bags. This film is also often used as cover or building film.


Whether a bag or a film is produced from regenerate goods is easy to tell from the individual smell of the film. Films or bags from new materials have a slight smell like a stearin candle going out, whereas films containing reconstituted old film have a smell similar to burnt rubber.