Plastic is one of the most widely used products in the U.S. We use it to package consumer products, to charge our purchases with credit cards, to carry our food and drink, to build our toys and to even make our clothing! There are over 10,000 different kinds of plastic in the world, and it is so versatile and can be mixed with so many other elements that its uses are limitless. But plastic takes up about 10% of our total waste stream, and it is composed mainly of the non-renewable resource petroleum. So the more petroleum we burn to make new plastic products, the more greenhouse gases we release into the air. Only 5% of all plastic is recycled, so we need to push for more plastic recycling practices in our daily lives. What is plastic recycling?
Plastic recycling is the process of reprocessing used scrap and waste plastic into new plastic material. Recycling old plastic products uses 20%-40% less energy than manufacturing it from new. Plastic is created by combining petroleum or natural gas with oxygen or chlorine. This process requires the burning of large amounts of oil. If we recycled all of our plastics we could reduce our oil consumption and save 25% of our landfill space. What types of plastic products can be recycled?
The American Society of Plastics has recognized seven different types of plastic and has given each category a number, which can be found on the bottom of the plastic container. The two most recyclable categories are: Marked “1”
This category contains PET or PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastics. These plastics include: Soda and water bottles
Peanut butter and other food jars
Salad dressing bottles
This category contains HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastics. These plastics include: Milk containers
Liquid laundry detergent containers
It’s important to always wash and rinse out your plastic containers before you take...
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