Can Acrylic Be Recycled?

Bill Abbott/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Certain types of acrylic can be recycled, though not all recycling centers will accept it. As a plastic, acrylic can be divided into two types: polymethyl acrylate (PMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Of these two types, only PMMA acrylics can be recycled.

PMMA acrylics are recycled by using molten lead that can depolymerise the material and allow recovery of the plastic’s monomer for reuse. As of 2014, new methods of recycling acrylic is being developed as lead is a difficult material to remove from the recycled acrylic material. Acrylic is classified as a class seven plastic resin on the Plastics Identification Code chart.