Can Polycarbonates Be Recycled?

Updated February 21, 2017

Polycarbonate is a lightweight, high-quality plastic. It is used in the construction of many everyday products, including DVDs, dinnerware, computer casings, medical equipment and bicycle helmets. Like all plastics, it can be recycled, but the process can make polycarbonate less resistant to impact.


Plastic is sorted, shredded and washed before recycling. The Recycle Now website reveals that, in the recycling process, "plastic is either melted down directly and moulded into a new shape, or shredded into flakes then melted down before being processed into granulates."


According to the Special Chem website, recycled polycarbonate is less resilient, having decreased impact resistance when compared with newly manufactured polycarbonate. The addition of fillers and pigments can also decrease the plastic's resilience. This problem can be addressed by the use of chemicals to modify impact resistance in recycled polycarbonate.


Because plastic is made from oil, a natural resource, recycling polycarbonate is an environmentally friendly option.

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About the Author

Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Burns began writing professionally in 1988. She has worked as a feature writer for various Irish newspapers, including the "Irish News," "Belfast News Letter" and "Sunday Life." Burns has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ulster as well as a Master of Research in arts.