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Constant consumption is one of the most harmful activities we humans indulge in. To balance out all the harm that is caused by consumption, recycling is one of the few activities we can invest in to make a significant difference.
But before we even get to recycling, there is another practice that we must consider, which is reusing. While reusing may make sense to an extent, it’s very difficult to reuse certain plastics. For example, plastic that comes in the form of packaging. This is where recycling steps in. When we choose to recycle, we save that plastic from entering our oceans and landfills, contaminating our water and soil.
There are many reasons why recycling plastic is important. When left in landfills and other places to break down, plastic merely breaks up into tiny microplastics. Microplastics are invisible to the naked eye and take over every aspect of our lives. Some of the other reasons why plastic must be recycled are –
1. When we focus on recycling already existing plastics, we are curbing the need to produce newer plastics. The manufacturing of plastic can be a very invasive process. A lot of mining is required and more natural resources are used, resulting in harmful byproducts. When we recycle more, this entire chain can be broken, resulting in a positive impact to our natural resources.
2. Plastic takes many hundred years to break down completely. If we carry on with our regular plastic consumption, the majority of our landfills will only be used for plastics. This will leave very little space for other waste materials that can actually be broken down easily. This is a huge issue and recycling can help handle this issue properly on the ground level.
3. Millions of marine animals, birds and wild animals die each year due to the consumption of plastic or due to blockage of their respiratory tracts by choking and so on. This major issue can also be tackled when we take responsibility for our plastic waste and do our bit by recycling it.
Different types of plastics, when recycled, are made into different items.
Hard plastics, for example (plastic beverage bottles and personal hygiene product bottles) are recycled into different products. They become new bottles that can be used as milk jugs, as plastic lumber, picnic tables, plastic lawn furniture, plastic dustbins and more such items.
Other thin plastics like plastic bags and clingfilm wraps are recycled into plastic lumber. This is used for making new park benches, plastic furniture and fences. They can also be made into new plastic bags. These materials can be recycled over and over again, so make sure you are not throwing any of these out!
Plastic bottles used for sodas or drinking water are some of the most commonly thrown away plastics in the world. These plastics can be recycled to make many new items. Items like clothing (t-shirts, sweaters, jackets), for making sleeping bags that are insulated, can be used for carpeting and also making more plastic bottles. To make one t-shirt from plastic, you only need 10 plastic bottles. So make sure that you don’t throw these bottles out and send them over to your closest recycling center.
When we speak about recycling plastic bottles, we tend to ignore the caps of these bottles. These are made from a different plastic that is harder and opaque compared to the body of the bottle. When we send these plastic bottle caps for recycling they get converted into car batteries, gardening equipment, storage containers, shopping bags, ropes, yarn, and you guessed it…more caps!
When you buy electronics, they usually come packed and padded with foam packaging. When you turn these over for recycling, this foam packaging gets converted to plastic picture frames, plastic insulation, and new foam packaging.
Before you throw any plastic away, make sure you spend some time to understand what these plastics can be turned into. You’ll understand how you will be helping save some amount of plastic from being manufactured.
It may really shock some people, but only about 9% of the plastic generated is actually effectively recycled. The rest of the 91% of plastic is either burned, dumped in landfills or thrown in the oceans. Stats also show that only about 29% of plastic bottles are actually recycled in America. So we really need to get on top of our recycling game.
With so much recycling technology in pace, it is shocking to find out that most of the plastic just skips the very important process of recycling. Lack of awareness is one of the main reasons why this happens, which is why we encourage recycling so much.
It is important to spread this knowledge to as many people as possible. Make it a point to educate at people about the benefits of recycling. It will make people realize why it is so important to recycle for a healthier and happier tomorrow. We need to make recycling and reusing plastic a way of life. This is the best way this massive plastic issue can be controlled.
About Plastic Collectors: Plastic Collectors is an initiative by a group of driven people all over the globe, passionate about reducing plastic pollution. They work on collecting plastic from beaches and other parts of their surroundings and ensure that this plastic gets recycled. They encourage people to collect and recycle plastic and also provide rewards and remuneration in the process. Find out how you can join the cause.