The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Well, you must be stuck in the mental matrix of the planet, but let’s not forget that plastic was once invented to save nature. However counter-intuitive it may sound, it’s now destroying the planet. Plastic has taken over spaces that have always belonged to nature, and only a fraction of it is recycled!
So here are some untold facts about plastic recycling
1. Only 9% of the world’s plastic is recycled
Since the 1950s, humans have created 8.3 billion tons of plastic and around 6.3 billion tons have become waste. Amongst that, millions of tons of plastic are disoriented in the environment. Some are transported to destinations where they are taken care of either by burning or dumping them. And the rest remains history.
2. 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean annually, when not recycled
Every bit of plastic ever made still exists somewhere and that somewhere ends up in the ocean if not disposed of or managed properly. Our never-ending source of food has now become a convenient dumping ground. What we don’t understand is the food chain. If marine life is consuming plastic debris, so will we, one day!
3. 700 species of marine animals are in danger of extinction due to plastic
“There’s plastic in the gut of a turtle, as they painfully die; after eating plastic that floats on by.”
Marine species are known to have eaten or been entangled in plastic causing them injury or death due to suffocation. They are being filled and killed with our trash. It’s we humans who have the ability to understand their needs which will eventually benefit human health if we are to think selfishly.
4. Only 1 to 3% of plastic bags are recycled
5 trillion plastic bags are produced yearly and over one million of bags are used every second globally. This means we touch more plastic bags every day than we touch our loved ones. It is a useful product and we can’t deny that, but what next? We throw it away after a few minutes of use. Nonetheless, its existence has lasted longer than centuries. There’s plastic debris in the landfills, but nothing beneath the surface is bio-degrading or decomposing.
5. 50% of the plastic is single-use or use and throw
It shows that we have introduced a ‘disposable’ lifestyle. The rate of use and throw plastic has gone faster than any other material. The percentage of single-use plastic produced from fossil fuels is around 98%. We need to slow down on our habit of chucking away plastic and turn our ‘waste’ into useful products without causing pollution.
6. Out of all the 7 types, HDPE and PET are easily recyclable
Because of its easy recycling ability, PET saves about 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space. It contributes widely as a recyclable material in textiles, toys, sports, and stationary sectors. While on the other hand, HDPE has the benefit of being cost-efficient and saving other resources when recycled. Moreover, when it is to making new products, it can vary from all sorts of furnishing to binding and other household equipment.
7. Recycled plastic is recognized as raw material
Recycled raw materials are nothing but recovered old products. They have not been extracted from nature, instead, they are made to save nature. Don’t consider it any less in terms of application. It has a wide scope in the construction industry, furnishing, areas for damp proofing, ducting, flooring, packaging, etc. If today it is a raw material, tomorrow it will be recycled raw material.
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8. Plastic recycling results in significant energy savings
If we are to give an approximate calculation for energy saving, will it have any impact on humans as to how deeply we are contributing to pollution? About 50% of the energy can be saved by recycling plastic in comparison to a new production of plastic.
9. 27% of the plastic bottles produced are recyclable
One million plastic bottles are purchased around the world every minute. The bottled water companies do not produce water; rather, they produce plastic. In 1977, the first PET bottle was recycled and as per the count says, 1 recycled bottle can save energy to power a 60 watt bulb for six hours. Well, this makes it simple for our solution: have a reusable bottle.
10. Dirty plastic cannot be recycled
Sometimes when we put our waste into bags or wrappers, it doesn’t usually end up in the recycling unit. It’s often considered useless or troublesome to clean, because the plastic is left with food residues on it. Even after proper cleaning and washing, they cannot be transformed into recycled goods. What matters is that they have to have good quality to compete in the market with virgin material. So in such situations, they end up as waste.
11. Plastic recycling saves landfill spaces
Haven’t we suffocated our planet enough with plastic waste? One of the things that we can do to protect or at least improve our environmental condition is Recycling. 79% of the landfill is sloughing as litter in the environment. When we recycle, we turn the product into something new which saves the creation of raw material or disposal of the item as waste in a landfill.
12. Recycling will benefit from low CO2 emissions
By recycling, we can save up to 90% of the carbon emission from the original processing to the manufacturing process along with the transportation. Hands down, when it comes to carbon emissions, recycling wins over new production for all the environmental measures.
13. Benefitting climate change from recycling
As we know, plastic has created nothing but chaos around the world. Along with that, it has also created waste that needs to be addressed. But if it is recycled, it will prove to be helpful. Recycling uses less energy which helps reduce the burning of fossil fuel as well as greenhouse gas emissions. All of this aids in improving climatic conditions.
14. Price of recycled plastic is more than virgin plastic
Often we consider that the product that was a waste once will have a lower price when converted into something new. But after reading this entire article you must be aware that only 9% of plastic is recycled globally. This clearly indicates that new material exists in abundance. What we don’t have is recycled plastic. So doesn’t it make sense that the recycled products we are to buy would be more expensive? Also, these products require buyers, or else recycling efforts could go in vain.
15. Recycled plastic promotes a sustainable lifestyle
Sustainable living is not all about reducing carbon emission or energy saving. Instead, it is a lifestyle to be followed for our own growth and healthy living. Using recycled plastic in our day-to-day lives will help establish relations along with acceptance of materials and will create a better and more sustainable living world.
The more we recycle, the less garbage ends up in our landfills, our ocean, and our food chain. By recycling and reusing them we can save energy as well as reduce the negative impacts on the environment. It all comes back to you – ‘The solution is in your hands.’ You can buy products with recycled material, you can support sustainable brands, and you can recycle what you use because it’s not about what it is – it’s about what it can become.