To most people, plastic is plastic. But, if you hold a water bottle, a milk jug or a 5-gallon plastic bucket, the difference is very apparent. All plastics are not recyclable. The symbol on the bottom of the container is an ID code, not a recyclable sign. Notice that water bottles have a number 1 stamped inside of the triangular marking. This usually symbolizes a recyclable plastic. Few individuals understand plastic recycling, but when a survey was recently conducted, 9 out of 10 Americans stated that they would be willing to participate in a recycling program if it were offered.
It is estimated that 2.5 million water bottles are used every hour. Most are tossed away in garbage containers and end up under the soil. The chemicals used in the plastic manufacturing process prevents this material from breaking down. It takes thousands of years for plastic to finally start of disintegrate.
Not only do many of the discarded plastics eventually end up in our oceans, damaging sea life, but the energy that is wasted from manufacturing versus recycling, is astounding. It takes 66% more energy to create plastic products from scratch than it does to recycle existing containers.
To date, only 27% of plastic bottles are recycled. This gives you an idea of the total amount of plastics that end up in landfills. At this pace, our beautiful planet will be a sea of garbage in a few short years.
How the Consumer can Help
If you do not have a garbage service that accepts all or part of discarded plastics, find one. There are apps available for locating recyclable companies in your area. Take the initiative and do your part to help the planet. Also, when shopping, look for products that are made from recyclable plastic in order to get the ball rolling on more manufacturing of recyclables.
With everyone’s help, more and more plastics will be required for recycle and the circle of manufacturing, using, recycling and re-use will be complete. Take the initiative and spread the word on these little know facts to make a difference.
Recycling 1 ton of NEWSPRINT can save:
- 601 kWh of energy
- 1.7 barrels of oil
- 10.2 million Btu’s of energy
- 4.6 cubic yards of landfill space
- 7000 gallons of water
- 15 trees
Did You Know?
– 10 million tons of newsprint is thrown away each year in the USA
– Approximately 65,000 – 75,000 trees are needed to produce the Sunday New York Times paper edition.
Recycling 1 ton of CARDBOARD saves:
- 390 kWh of energy
- 1.1 barrels of oil
- 6.6 million Btu’s of energy
– Remove all other materials in the cardboard box, such as plastic bubble wrap and other packaging materials.
– Break apart the cardboard boxes to save storage space.
– Keep cardboard dry so it is easier to carry.
Recycling 1 ton of PAPER saves:
- 4,100 kWh of energy
- 9 barrels of oil
- 54 million of Btu’s of energy
- 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
- 60 pounds of air pollutants being released
- 7000 gallons of water
- 17 trees
Did You Know?
– 4.5 million tons of paper is disposed each year in the USA
– The average American uses about 650 pounds of paper each year.
– Recycled white paper creates 74% less air pollution, 35% less water pollution, and 75% less processed energy than producing from virgin fibers.
The information was gathered from the Water Management website. For more informative statistics, please visit here.
Garbage is a serious issue in not only our country but the entire world. The average American creates 4.5 pounds of waste daily, however, there are plenty of ways to reduce that amount. By recycling plastics, paper, and other items, the amount of garbage that takes up space in landfills will shrink. Recycling also helps lessen greenhouse gas emissions, saves water, and minimize energy usage.
Items found in bedrooms and living room can be easily recycled. For example: If you have a desk in your bedroom that acts as a loose paper magnet, those piles of paper can be put to good use. Your junk mail and old paperwork can take a trip to the shredder and be on its way to the recycling bin. Old books, magazines, and catalogs can be recycled as well. Recycling all these items also gives you the perfect chance to de-clutter.
Often times the bathroom is the most overlooked source of recyclables, but it’s actually where you’ll find them the most. You can recycle plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles, toothpaste tubes, tissue boxes, plastic razors, and even old toothbrushes. There are many products like skin cosmetics and hair gel that people use so regularly that they forget that their containers can be recycled. Next time you are about to throw out an empty bottle of lotion, think twice.
The kitchen is a major source of traffic in any home. It’s where you keep your food, beverages, and cleaning products. All of those items have one thing in common; packaging! Plastic spray bottles, canned vegetables, glass pickle jars, and cardboard cereal boxes are just a few of many examples of what can be recycled. Sadly, most people throw these items into the trash bin without giving it a second thought.
As an inhabitant of planet earth, you should care about its well-being. By gathering the recyclables in your home, you can help minimize the carbon footprint left behind by numerous generations. For more information, call or visit your local waste management office.