Plastic recycling is important because it is having a hugely negative effect on our environment. Our Recycling our waste products is not only better for the environment, but it means that there is less rubbish buried on landfill sites. In the UK, the government have already said that landfill sites will be full by 2018.
How Does Plastic Recycling Help the Environment?
When rivers and seas are polluted with plastic, fish and other sea life suffer. Many thousands of animals are hurt or killed every year because they get caught up in plastic bags and wrapping, or they choke from trying to eat them. Fish that eat tiny plastic particles end up with toxins in their bodies, which are then passed on to the animals or humans that eat them. The more plastic that is recycled rather than sent to thrown into rivers and seas or sent to landfill, the fewer fish and other sea creatures will suffer, and the less the effects of swallowing plastics will be passed on to humans.
For every ton of plastic that is recycled, 7.4 cubic yards of landfill spaced is saved. Ensuring we recycle as much plastic as possible will extend the lives of our landfill sites, and stop the process many practice of burning plastics to save space, which releases toxic irritants and pollutants into the atmosphere.
Recycling plastic also reduces the amount of non-renewable energy used in the plastic-making process, as creating new items from existing plastic uses significantly less energy than creating plastics from raw materials. This reduces the strain on the power grid, meaning oil and coal is saved and carbon emissions are reduced.
While many people make the effort to recycle, there is still more to be done and the pity is that plastic is a versatile material. Almost all plastics can be recycled into bottles, containers, furniture, clothes, insulation and building products. In 2015, plastic was one of the UK’s top ten exports and the UK is one of Europe’s top five producers of plastic.
Plastic Bottle Recycling
90% of plastic bottles are made from PET, which are used for water or fizzy drinks bottles. HDPE is used for milk bottles. Condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise are found in bottles made from PP. The Recycle Now website says that the average household in the UK uses 480 plastic bottles a year, but only half of them end up being recycled.
The disposal of plastic bottles is very simple. They need to be clean and empty and by squashing them you can make more room in your bin. Lids can be put back on the bottles, as they can be recycled too.
How Does Plastic Recycling Work?
The first step in the processing chain is to sort out the different plastics. There are four main types of plastic, which are PET and are normally used to make plastic bottles. Then there is HDPE which is a sturdy plastic used for toys, or pipes. PP is used for garden furniture, on car bumpers and containers and PVC is used in packaging, building materials, medical devices and footwear.
Once the plastic is sorted it is then shredded or granulated to make smaller pieces. The plastic is then washed, dried and separated. The final stage is to turn them into pellets, which are then distributed to other manufacturers to create new products.
Plastic recycling manufacturers provide a service to businesses and individual customers. You can use these services for the disposal of plastic, if you are unable to use your recycle bin at home, or if you have a business which produces a large amount of plastic waste.