What is a Plastic Granulator?

Shannon Kietzman

A plastic granulator is a machine used to break plastic products down so they can be recycled. Recent surveys report that discarded bottles, bags, packaging, and other plastic products represent as much as 40% of the solid waste tossed out by residents in communities across the nation. Unfortunately, plastic is not biodegradable. Therefore, it does not break down naturally to become part of the earth. This means recycling is the only option for reducing the amount of plastic in landfills.

Plastic pellets created by a granulator.
Plastic pellets created by a granulator.

A plastic granulator operates much like a large shredder. It turns full sized bottles, jugs, and other plastic products into flakes, or granules. The material produced by the plastic granulator is later sold to molders and manufacturers of plastic products as recycled raw material. The recycled raw material can be used to make new plastic items. Aside from aluminum and glass, plastic is the only material capable of being reprocessed into new items that are of the same quality as the original.

A plastic box.
A plastic box.

A plastic granulator is comprised of a large electric motor that turns a rotor. Cutting blades are attached to the rotor and encased within a closed chamber. These blades and chambers are available in numerous shapes and sizes. When used plastic material is placed inside the chamber, the rotating blades shred it into granules.

A screen is also located inside the chamber. It serves as a sifter, ensuring the plastic is small enough to be resold. If the plastic pieces are larger than .125 to .375 inches (0.318 to 0.953 centimeters), they are reprocessed until they are small enough.

A plastic granulator is rated by pounds per hour, which refers to how much it can shred within an hour. For industrial recyclers, the chamber of the plastic granulator needs to be large. It is, however, possible to purchase a plastic granulator for home or small business use. It is important to note that these machines can be a dangerous, no matter how small. Therefore, it is important to follow the precautions provided by the manufacturer.

In order to properly maintain a plastic granulator, the user must keep it clean. Otherwise, it will not produce the desired small granules of plastic. The blades of the plastic granulator must be oiled periodically. In addition, the inside of the chamber needs to be wiped clean, including the screen. In fact, it is best to remove and clean the screen after every large job the machine completes.

Once plastic is dropped-off for recycling, a granulator is used to break down the plastic for reuse.
Once plastic is dropped-off for recycling, a granulator is used to break down the plastic for reuse.

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Discussion Comments


I need a machine that will be suitable for vacuum parts. the parts could be 9 inches wide 18 inches long. We are a small operation so cost is a major factor.


I would recommend you to contact Rapid Granulator Inc in Pittsburg. I know they will have a solution that suits your needs. I don't necessarily think you have to cut the sheets first, but they will know.


i need to granule LDPE sheets thick. 3 mm, which machine is suitable for this purpose and it is recommend to cut this sheets first?

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