Plastic is a man-made material which is typically made from petrochemicals or petroleum-derived compounds. There are different types of plastic which are identified based on the code number within three chasing arrows.
Most plastic products that are used in everyday life are used only once which is why it is important to collect and recycle as much plastic as possible. Unfortunately, huge amounts still end up in landfills and what is even more concerning, in the environment and even oceans.
Listed below are some interesting and shocking facts about plastic including its damage to the environment:
- Plastic may take thousands of years to decompose.
- Plastic can be recycled into many kinds of products including toys, stuffed animals and clothing, to mention only a few.
- Plastic recycling offers a lot of business opportunities as well as employment.
- Plastic recycling uses twice less energy than plastic incineration.
- One tonne of recycled plastic equals over 680 gallons of petroleum saved.
- One tonne of recycled plastic equals 30 cubic yards less waste in landfills.
- Nearly 90% less energy is used to recycle plastic than to make it from raw material.
- One half of all plastic used is discarded after being used only once.
- The amount of plastic thrown away on a global level in just one year could encircle the planet four times.
- Plastic makes up 80% of all rubbish that ends up in oceans each year.
- Most of plastic waste in world’s oceans comes from the land.
- Plastic – especially food containers and bags – is very lightweight and therefore, it can be carried long distances by the wind.
- Since plastic is waterproof and doesn’t decompose for hundreds or thousands of years, much of it eventually makes it into waterways and oceans.
- Plastic is believed to be responsible for about 1 million sea bird deaths and 100,000 marine mammal deaths.
- Sea birds, whales, turtles and fish may mistake plastic for food and eat it which can cause pain or even death.
- While decomposing, plastic releases all sorts of chemicals and air pollutants.
- Production of plastic from raw material involves burning fossil fuels which in turn pollutes the air and emits greenhouse gases that are warming up the planet.
As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons why to recycle plastic. With the exception of a few, most types of plastic can be recycled by separating it from the rest of waste, rinsing/washing to remove the remains of the contents and drop off at the recycling bank.