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Environmental control through recycling has become a popular issue both for the country and Western Electric. Western Electric repairs over 20 million telephone sets each year, and, in the process, they generate a substantial volume of rubbish of which 12 percent is scrap telephone plastic and 85 percent is cardboard and wood. Most of the scrap telephone plastic is ABS, a high impact material. The same type of plastic is used in football helmets and automobile parts.
A study to determine the feasibility of recycling this scrap plastic was made. In order to facilitate the study, a materials handling shop tray presently made of virgin acrylonitrile butadiene and styrene (ABS) plastic was used to produce samples. Some of the sample trays were successful field tests. The mechanical properties of recycled plastic were also determined.
As would be expected, the mechanical properties of recycled materials were reduced when compared to new plastic. However, it did not present a problem with the sample trays field tested. The data obtained indicated that the results were well within the range of published data for new ABS.
Plastic recycling is not new. Recycling of highly contaminated plastic is unique and practical and, when properly prepared, can actually reduce manufacturing costs.
environments, recycling, wastes, waste disposal, plastics, tests, mechanical properties
Senior engineer, Western Electric Company, Inc., New York, N. Y.