Plastic, in its many different forms, is one of the most used materials around the world. It supports the packaging industry with wrapping plastics and bubble wrap. It facilitates retail sales in the form of plastic bags. Stronger plastics are also used to carry most of our cosmetics, cleaning products, sodas, and fruit juices. If you need to package any kind of product up, there’s a plastic for that. With all these benefits, there are more and more drawbacks to the millions of tons of plastic produced regularly. Recycling plastic is one of the ways being used to cut down on these negative consequences of so much plastic use.
The Problem with Plastic
For all its positives, plastic has a fair share of cons. For one, plastic is not biodegradable. That means when it has been used, unless it can be reused, it is usually destined for the dumpsite. Landfills are filling up because of this, so there is a space concern. Plastic pollution is a major issue. Plastic can be a choking hazard that also affects animal life on land and in water bodies such as rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans. Another way to dispose of plastic is through incineration, but this produces harmful byproducts that contribute to air pollution.
Many of the plastics used in the retail sector, for example, are single-use plastics. This is an issue considering the volume of raw materials and energy used to produce these plastics. Many governments around the world are cracking down on this practice. Various policies are already in place to either ban single-use plastic completely or limit its use.
Recycling plastic means that instead of heading to the landfill after being used once or twice, many grades of plastics can be broken down and remade into lower-grade plastics. Soda bottles are some of the most recycled plastic products. The products of recycled plastic include fleece material, jacket insulation, more bottles, as well as sleeping bags. Here are some of the important reasons to recycle looked at more closely.
Conserving Natural Resources and Energy
Most plastics are made with raw materials derived from petroleum. The manufacturing process also required lots of water and energy. Recycling plastics reduces the need for this extensive initial manufacturing process. Water and energy are both very precious resources, and every effort must be used to conserve them.
Cutting Down Pollution
Plastic is not always disposed of in the right place. Unlike paper or other organic waste, it can remain in the ground or the sea for many, many years because it is not biodegradable. Plastic pollution not only affects the beauty of the natural landscape; it can be a hazard and hindrance to plant growth and animals. It can clog up drains and pipes and suffocate or choke fish. It takes time and money to clean up the plastic waste that has not been disposed of in the right place.
Reducing Landfill Space
The landfill waste problem has already been touched on. More and more land is required to dispose of tons and tons of plastic. Even recycling may not be able to catch up with the volume of plastic being disposed of on a daily basis, but it can certainly be part of the solution. Many kinds of plastics cannot be recycled at present.
Anyone Can Do It
One of the best parts about recycling plastic is that anyone can do it. Recyclable plastic has the recycling triangle symbol somewhere on them. There are many places to put these plastics once you are done using them. It might seem like a small act, but it contributes to a cleaner and greener planet. Every recycled plastic bottle cuts the problem by one.