As a society we're fast becoming aware of the impact we have on the environment; and with millions of tonnes of plastic ending up in the oceans, recycling plastic has become an important skill. Here are a few interesting facts about recycling plastic you may not know.
Can plastic be recycled?
Most plastics can be recycled, and nearly all UK councils offer plastic recycling as part of your waste collection scheme.
What are the benefits of recycling plastic?
Answering the question, "can you recycle plastic?" is one thing but you should also know the benefits of doing so. Here are three reasons you should recycle plastics:
- Many landfill sites incinerate plastic to save space, releasing toxins into the air, so recycling helps decrease pollution.
- Recycling takes 12% of the energy required to create plastic from petroleum, so it is cheaper to recycle than make new plastic.
- Recycled plastic can be turned into many new things, allowing us to conserve petroleum levels.
What plastics can be recycled?
Being sure of which plastics are recyclable will help you separate your waste and reduce your excess rubbish. These are:
- PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is the most commonly used plastic found in items such as water bottles and some packaging.
- HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) is the stiff plastic used to make containers such as milk cartons, detergent bottles and toys.
- PP (Polypropylene) is often used in nappies, wipes and more. Many places now recycle polypropylene to make items like battery cases, brooms and bins.
What plastics cannot be recycled?
Although scientists are working hard to find new ways to recycle plastics, there are some that are not recyclable. These include:
- LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) can be found in shrink wraps, squeezable bottles, and even the bags for your supermarket bread.
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is the flexible plastic used to make plastic food wrap, blister packaging and more. Although it is not recyclable, PVC can be repurposed.
- PS (Polystyrene) is most often used to make Styrofoam cups, egg cartons, and foam packaging.
Five facts about recycling plastic
Here are five plastic recycling facts you may not have heard before:
- It's estimated that in the last ten years we have produced more plastic than in the entirety of the last century.
- Plastic drinking bottles can be recycled into a whole host of different products, from duvet fillings and home insulation to carrier bags and DVD cases.
- It can take up to a thousand years for a piece of plastic to fully degrade.
- You could circle the earth four times with the volume of plastic thrown away in just a single year.
- Recycling is not only good for the environment but also for the economy as it produces more jobs than both landfill and incinerating.