Plastics are durable, lightweight materials that were invented in 1909. They are normally made from oil and natural gas. Using plastics to replace packaging materials such as metal and glass has allowed manufacturers to make packages that are more efficient. For example to bottle eight gallons of a beverage would take only two pounds of plastic but would take three pounds of aluminum, eight pounds of steel and 27 pounds of glass. The light weight of plastic packaging helps reduce transportation costs. It takes fewer trucks to transport plastic compared to metal or other materials. Fewer trucks mean less fuel usage and therefore less air pollution from truck exhaust.
Recycling plastic containers helps to conserve landfill space and natural resources and to cut down on pollution. Since the number of landfills continues to diminish, keeping plastic containers out of landfills is important. Plastics do not degrade in landfills. Therefore, containers you throw away will be taking up landfill space hundreds of years from now. Making plastic products from recycled plastic also reduces air and water pollution, and energy used for making plastics from raw materials. Recycled plastic is used to make products such as plastic lumber, toys, containers, carpet, fiber fill for jackets and flowerpots. There are over 1,500 products made with or packaged in recycled plastic. Such uses reduce natural resource consumption and pollution because fewer raw materials are required and less energy is needed to make recycled plastic products than to make plastic products entirely from raw materials. There are different kinds mixtures of resins that make thousands of types of plastics. Ink pens, car parts and plastic bags are all made from different resins. In order to recycle plastics, the different types must be kept separate. Therefore, plastic packages are coded to indicate the type of resin used to make them. The code numbers are found inside the chasing recycling arrows on...
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