Recycling Book – Plastic Recycling

Here’s a page for a coloring book about recycling commissioned by Positive Promotions for Earth Day.  Text explaining the illustration is to be added in production.

There were four pages in this project meant to explain the recycling processes for different materials to young children.  Initially I was to copy the original illustration, but in my style.  Unfortunately, the original illustrations were quite fanciful.  For example, the image below is about how plastics are recycled.  The second step in the original had a worker chopping the plastic up with an ax, like a lumberjack.  Very easy to understand, but not at all how it works.  That fit well with the silly cartoon characters from the original design, but not with my more realistic cartoon characters.

So, for my versions of the recycling process illustrations, I had to find a balance between the silly original concepts and what actually happens in a recycling plant.  I couldn’t make it completely realistic because the function of much of the equipment actually used is not obvious to an outside observer, and particularly not to young kids.  But I couldn’t make it too silly or it wouldn’t fit the style.

So, for this image, my version of step two has whole plastic items coming down a conveyor belt into a machine and shredded plastic coming out the other end.  Still not exactly how it looks in a recycling center, but close enough to be clearly understood without being too silly.

So, the simplified steps for plastic recycling for this page are:  Sorting, Chopping, Melting, Forming into Pellets, and Making New Products.

Plastic Recycling Process