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In the place where I live, hard plastics (e.g. bottles) are valued more and easier to recycle whereas soft plastics (e.g. wrappers), even of the same type (say, HDPE) are valued much less, and it's harder to find someone who would be willing to accept them. Why is it so? Soft plastics are thinner so there are more contaminants per unit of volume/weight compared to hard plastics. But suppose I wash them thoroughly, why would soft plastics still be inferior, less fit for recycling? Is a higher volume per weight ratio during transportation to blame (because of air)? You can compress them into bales, though, can't you?

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Inferior is probably not the best word to use in this situation. Something such as less preferable might be better. Inferior denotes lesser quality or lower strength or functionality characteristics.

English lessons aside, who is going to wash the soft plastics before they get recycled, those disposing of the plastics or those who would collect it or those who would recycle it? You can't rely on those disposing of the plastic to wash it because most people are either lazy or just want the convenience of simply disposing it without much thought, They need an incentive. Leaving it to the others gives them a waste disposal problem they don't want. What do they do with the dirty wash water and any associated biological material or solids? What is it going to cost them to be rid of something they don't want?

As for compressing soft plastics, yes that's possible but who want's to spend the money buying machines to do this, if they don't have to?

One of the differences I see between the two types of plastics is the ease or difficulty in how each type might be handled. Using your example of hard and soft plastics, hard plastics would be easier to handle, they flow more easily and more controllably under gravity and are less prone to being blown on conveyor belts by gusts of wind or other forms of airflow.

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