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Plastic
ECOLOGY - 23/09/2019

Plastic is complicated. There is no end of fallacies and misconceptions about which pieces of plastic packaging go in the recycling bin and which are general waste. Don’t rely on the myths about plastic recycling – get your facts straight.

 

Approximately 8 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, and most of that exists somewhere on the planet because it takes thousands of years to degrade. Of the 5.8bn tonnes of plastic no longer in use, only 9% has been recycled. As plastic is organic stuff, it has more or less the same density as water.  8 billion of tonnes then equal a volume of a rectangular prism 10 km x 1 km x 8 m height!

 

Almost half of all the plastic produced each year is used for product packaging. From shampoo bottles to tubs of yogurt. Each European produce (consume) an average of 31kg of plastic waste a year.
And a lot of plastic is not recyclable. Plastics that are not generally recyclable include pill trays with foil, such as those for headache pills, laminated pouches for pet food, paint pots, toys and expanded polystyrene used in packaging. Plastic film from pots or trays is not recyclable. Neither is cling film, crisp packets, and food and drink pouches, pre-prepared salad bags and any non-polyethylene film, such as PP, PVC and other forms. And black plastic is not generally accepted as its colouring means it cannot be picked out by sorting machines.

 


In general, recycled plastic is unfortunately not just as good as newly made plastic. As plastic is recycled, its quality degrades and typically it can only be reused once or twice.
This compares badly with glass, paper and metal that can be recycled indefinitely.
We are getting more and more disturbed by plastic waste and concerned about the problems of plastic. Still – we use it more and more. Start to say no to plastic. Materials like wood, metal, paper and concrete are much more accepted by the natural recycling mechanisms of the Earth.

 

Reference: https://www.theguardian.com/product-innovation-with-henkel/2019/sep/19/plastic-recycling-a-guide-to-the-myths-and-realities

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