Why is plastic recycling must?
Plastics are truly the versatile material that can be a valuable asset to your plastic waste recycling program. Your business can significantly reduce destructive waste output and cut costs associated with waste management fees through a plastic recycling program. Plastic materials are often recycled to make items such as containers, clothes, carpet, plastic lumber, bottles, lawn and garden products, molding materials, grocery bags, and films, to name a few.
Plastic by the Numbers: Plastic Recycling Facts
How much of our solid waste which is formed by the plastic? As per The Environmental Protection Agency report, plastic is up to 12% of the 254 million tons of waste generated in 2007. That’s more than around 30 million tons of plastic in one year. Some reports state plastic materials can take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. And, for every one ton of plastic that’s recycled, reports estimate that around 7 yards of landfill space are saved. By recycling, you can also improve to conserve the additional 80% of the energy that’s typically used when making brand new plastic bottles, containers and other items instead of recycling. It’s easy to see why recycling plastic is so necessary.
Baled plastics, specifically the plastic bottles, have a very high scrap value per ton. In fact, the only other recyclable material that’s more lucrative is aluminum cans.
The need for plastic recycling is growing
As the use of plastics has significantly increased over the years, they have become a bigger part of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream rising from less than 1% in 1960 to approximately 12% in 2008. As an example of how and why the plastic waste is increasing, the Beverage Marketing Corporation reports that the average American citizen consumed around 28.3 gallons of bottled water in 2006, up from 1.6 gallons back in 1976. The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water: Americans buy around 28 billion bottles of water annually, and 70-80% of those bottles end up in landfills. A better first step in reducing waste is shifting to a reusable water bottle.
Recycling plastic conserves the energy and natural resources
Recycling plastics reduces the amount of total energy and natural resources (such as water, petroleum and natural) which are required to create virgin plastic. According to the American Plastics Council, the production of plastic material accounts for 4% of U.S. energy consumption, and 70% of plastics in the US are made from indigenous natural gas.
Recycling plastics conserves the landfill space
Recycling the plastic products also keeps them out of the landfills and allows the plastics to be reused in manufacturing new products. Recycling one ton of plastic saves around 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space. And let’s face it, a lot of plastic ends up directly in the environment, breaking down into a number of tiny pieces, polluting our soil and water, and adding to the ocean’s great garbage patches.
Recycling plastic is relatively easy
Recycling plastics has never been an easier task. Today, 80% of Americans have easy access to a better plastics recycling program, whether they participate in a municipal curbside program or live next to a drop-off site. The universal numbering system for plastic types makes it even easier. As per the American Plastics Council, more than 1,800 US businesses handle or reclaim post-consumer plastics. Also, many grocery stores now serve as recycling collection sites for plastic bags and plastic wrap.
Plastic recycling: Room for improvement
Overall, plastics recycling is still relatively small. In 2008, only about 6.8% of plastics in the municipal solid waste stream were recycled around 2.1 million tons of the total 30 tons of plastic waste generated that very year.