Plastic is so common, around us at all times and in almost every man made good, sometimes we lose sight of how marvelous it really is. A petroleum based product, plastics transformed every single industry you could imagine. As lightweight as it can be durable, plastic is malleable and can be transformed into about anything. Essential in products as sophisticated as electronics but simple enough to make the perfect bottle, plastics do it all. Where it may not seem like plastic could do any more, plastic’s most remarkable power is not the many uses, but it’s numerous reuses.
As plastics are so pervasive, it was critical to find a way to remove it from our landfills. Plastic came with unique challenges in regard to recycling. Plastic requires much higher heat than aluminum and glass to be melted down. Also, plastics contain a number of dyes that can compromise the integrity of the materials. If the wrong plastics are mixed in the melting process, it can drastically reduce the number of reapplications. It was quite an undertaking to figure out the process, but today plastic recycling is not only more efficient than ever, but plastics can be reused in a surprising number of ways.
Since 1990 the amount of consumer plastics recycled has increased every year. With 2.2 million tons of plastic being recycled last year alone, this figure translates into an unreal array of new goods. Soda bottles become tables and chairs. Shopping bags come back as polyethylene film. Recycled plastics can be clothing, toys, fiberfill, and stuffed animals. Though recycled goods are not the only benefit of recycled plastic.
2.6 million tons of plastic were burned for energy in the United States last year.
Recycling one ton of plastic saves 1000 to 2000 gallons of gasoline.
Over 50% production energy is saved when making goods from recycled plastics instead of new materials.
With a plastic recycling rate of only 32%, you save the carbon emissions of 39.4 million cars.
One third of plastics get recycled, it’s like making 40 million cars vanish from the roads. Not bad for plain old plastic.
What can you do?
Do your part and recycle those plastics. So very common, but so very powerful, this chameleon of all industry is a precious resource. Reuse plastic bottles, recycle everything, and only trust companies like Rubbish Please for your waste removal. With a more collectively conscious commitment to recycling, individual effort, and the diligence of companies like Rubbish Please, we can all help give plastic a chance to work it’s magic.
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/