We’re living in a society that is increasingly aware of the impact that we’re having on the environment and world that we live in. As we all want to live as sustainably as possible, it’s important that we take steps to begin plastic recycling wherever we can. A report produced by Euromonitor International showed an increase in bottled water sales in the Philippines of 4% in 2015. Add to this the plastic bottles we buy our fizzy drinks, cleaning liquids, and even cooking oil in, and you’re looking at a lot of plastic waste.
It’s clear we need to be finding ways to recycle plastic bottles so read on to discover top tips for how to recycle plastic bottles. With these tips and tricks, you can take steps to reduce your own personal carbon footprint, as well as save yourself money.
Three ways to reduce your plastic waste
When it comes to reducing your plastic waste, there are three easy steps you can take:
- Upcycle: Turn old plastic bottles into a homemade bird feeder, make-up brush holder or other new useful product you can use around your home.
- Replace: There are plenty of alternative options which you can now purchase to replace single-use plastics. For example, invest in products such as:
- Aluminium or BPA-free plastic bottles to refill with water from home.
- Aluminium or paper straws which can be carried to restaurants or used at home.
- Recycle: Plastic recycling is actually a lot simpler than you might realise. We have an easy to follow guide for how to recycle plastic bottles, containers and more below.
Why do we need to know how to recycle plastic bottles?
There are a few facts we need to consider when it comes to plastic recycling:
- The Philippines has a population of over 100 million people, and between us we are contributing nearly two million tonnes of plastic waste to the ocean plastic problem. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that each of us is taking steps to reduce our individual contribution to this.
- When it comes to plastic recycling, the most important question you need to ask is whether your bottle can be recycled on mass, or whether it would be better for you to think of creative ways to reuse them in your own home.
- Plastic is a notably resilient material. This means that if it is not recyclable then it could hang around in waste for a very long time: Instead we should be:
- Reducing the single-use plastics you buy by purchasing products such as Surf which use recyclable packaging.
- Replacing them with washable, reusable options.
The basics of plastic recycling
Plastic recycling can seem a bit tricky at first. There are lots of different kinds of plastics, and there are some which cannot be recycled at all. Even those which can be recycled may not be labelled in the same way. Whilst you can often find detailed guides to the labels on the packaging, sometimes the labelling may not be clear. Below you will find some basic rules and ways to recycle plastic bottles and other products which are important to know.
- Plastic bottles are usually recyclable. Most drink, cooking oil and detergent bottles are made of PET plastic. PET stands for “polyethylene terephthalate” (sometimes just called “plastic type 1”), a kind of plastic that’s recycled pretty much everywhere. However, it’s important to note that many of their lids are not currently widely recycled.
- Cellophane and plastic films are not usually recyclable. This varies from place to place, though, so check with your own local city waste disposal department. There are other reusable alternative products available on the market which can be used instead of cellophane or plastic film, so be sure to check these out and make an investment in a long-term solution.
- Some recycling plants won’t take dirty packaging. This is especially true with food and drink packaging. There are two important steps to understanding how to recycle plastic bottles and other plastic packaging:
- Ensure you rinse out plastic milk jugs, water bottles and other basic single-use plastics before you put them out for collection. They don’t need to be squeaky clean all they need is a simple rinse with a little water.
- However, if you’re dealing with ketchup bottles or other more soiled food packaging, fill them with warm water and a drop of Sunlight. Let it sit for a few hours to loosen any residue, and then rinse. It’ll make the process of creating recycled plastic much easier.
What if plastic recycling isn’t an option?
Whilst the above steps may seem much easier than you thought to follow, what do you do about things which aren’t widely recyclable? If you’re wondering how to recycle plastic bottles that held your pills, plastic water jugs, and so forth, you’ll be pleased to know that more often than not, there is a sustainable way to dispose of them! Read on for some advanced plastic recycling tips:
- If in doubt, ask! Your city’s waste management department should be able to answer any questions you have about what can and can’t be collected with your recycling – and they might surprise you. It’s worth giving them a call and writing down what they say for future reference.
- Look out for specialised waste collection plants. Some things that aren’t usually collected for recycling, like plastic bags, might be recyclable at supermarkets, specialised waste collection plants and some locally run initiatives. So be sure to have a look around your area.
- Donate your plastics. Companies like Winder Recycling Company are turning plastic waste into new, useful products like tables and chairs. A single school chair they create uses up 30 kilos of plastic waste, the equivalent of around 10,000 sweet wrappers!
- Upcycle what you can’t recycle. As we said before, an easy way to reduce your own personal plastic waste is to find it a second life in your home. You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with, and it can be a fun, money-saving activity to do with your children too.
When it comes to understanding how to recycle plastic bottles the right way, you now have all the tips and tricks you need. Remember, a few small changes can make a big difference to our environment, so it’s worth paying some attention to your recycling habits. It’s for the future of our planet, after all.