Plastics are one of the most versatile materials we use. They are all around us, whether we are at home or at work, when we go shopping, even when we are on vacation. However, the prevalence of plastics also means that we have large amounts to dispose of later. In addition, plastic recycling is very important, but why?
As you may know, there are many types of plastics and many types of plastics can be recycled. But you probably do not know why environmentalists and waste experts take plastic recycling so seriously.
1. Plastics are a huge amount of our solid waste
As I mentioned, there are large amounts of plastics that are disposed of as solid waste. But you would probably be surprised to learn that plastics make up over 12% of all solid waste available. This equates to 30 million tonnes of plastic available each year!
The unfortunate part of disposing of plastics is that it is simply dumped in landfills along with other waste. Since most types of plastics can be recycled, sending plastics to landfills is a daunting task for the environment. We are depleting the landfill at an alarming rate, so we must avoid disposing of plastic along with solid waste.
2. Plastic takes years to break
Do you have an idea of how long it takes for plastics to degrade in the environment? The answer may surprise you. It is between 500-1000 years old. This is far beyond comprehension for most people.
Simply put, when we take out the plastics in landfills, they do not collapse easily. Instead, it clogs up valuable landfill space and can take centuries to collapse.
In addition, if plastics are sent to waste treatment plants, they can overload the unit, which leads to another issue. Combustion of plastic is very harmful to the environment. And as if these two things were not bad enough, if the plastics are dumped in the ocean, then it gets contaminated.
3. Plastic pollution is a major problem
While plastic pollution is prevalent in landfills, as mentioned, it is not the only place where plastics cause pollution. In fact, 90% of all waste floating on the surface of the oceans is plastic. This can be approached at around 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile!
And, plastics in the ocean are really damaging the ecosystem. More than one million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic pollution each year. In addition, 44% of seabird species, 22% of crustaceans, the growing variety of fish species and all sea turtles are known to have plastic in their bodies.
Plastic pollution is a major problem that needs to be addressed immediately. If we do not stop now, we will only create a bad environment for future generations.
4. Not all types of plastics can be recycled
Most types of plastics can be recycled. However, some types of plastics such as polystyrene, garbage bags, zipper bags, bubble wrap, plastic cereal box, clear plastic wrap, potato bags, some department store plastic bags, candy wrappers and plastic candy wrappers can not be used.
There are many economic and technical reasons why these forms of plastic cannot be recycled. But the bottom line here is that no matter what we do, this plastic waste will inevitably reach landfills. And, this plastic waste will accumulate, creating a volume of waste that will not go away easily.
Therefore, you need to ensure that you recycle as many other types of plastics as possible. Types of recyclable plastics include polystyrene (compact disc cases, plastic forks, etc.), polypropylene (drug bottles), vinyl packaging, low density polyethylene and high density polyethylene (milk bottles).
5. Recycled plastics can be used properly
Another reason why plastic recycling is important is because it can be used well and not end up on land. Recycled plastic can be used to create items such as shampoo bottles, oil pipes, floor tiles and traffic cones among many other products.
In addition, there are many innovative ways to use recycled plastic. For example, recycled plastic can be used to make decks, sportswear, car interiors and other products.
6. Plastic recycling saves energy for the environment
Finally, the last reason that plastic recycling is important is this. For every 1 ton of plastic that is recycled, it is estimated that 7 meters of landfill space are maintained. This is important, especially given the fact that we are rapidly running out of landfill space.
In addition, by recycling plastic, 80% of the total energy that enters the construction of new plastic products is saved. The manufacture of plastics involves the use of oil and other fossil fuels. Not only are these fuels rare, but the process of making plastic is done in a way that is harmful to the environment. By recycling we can reduce the amount of plastic that is made and help the environment.
Stanford University estimates that recycling a ton of plastic saves 7,200 kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s enough to run an average household for 7 months!
I’m sure you can now see that plastic recycling is extremely important. Therefore, make sure that you use your plastics properly. Reduce the amount of plastic you use and if you have to throw away any plastic, make sure you recycle it properly.
Plastic recycling is very important and should be taken seriously. Plastics are a huge amount of solid waste and take centuries to be disposed of in landfills or in the ocean. Therefore, all recyclable plastics should be recycled to reduce drought, conserve energy and preserve the environment.
If you think you are environmentally conscious and want to recycle plastic properly, you can help.