Plastics recycling is expanding and growing due to product companies, recyclers, and people who are taking continuous efforts and making innovative advances to efficiently use this versatile material. It’s absolutely true that recycling plastics and other materials saves resources and helps protect the environment. In the last 10 years alone, we have come a long way with regards to recycling plastic. But what many consider to be widely known and generally accepted ‘facts’ about recycling plastic are somewhat outdated.
Here are some notable recycling facts about plastics that will be handy to you:
1) Recyclers are hoping you return plastic caps and lids
Plastic caps and lids typically are made with the same recyclable plastic as detergent bottles (high-density polyethylene or HDPE). Thanks to many advances in plastics recycling, you can simply put those plastic caps and lids back on their bottles and containers before you toss them in the recycling bin—they’ll be separated for recycling later.
2) There are recyclable plastics in almost every part of your home
Most people, usually focus most of your recycling efforts in the kitchen. Little do they know that plastic containers for shampoo bottles, bleach, toiletries, and gardening products typically are made with the same plastics as food packaging—therefore making them just as easy to toss in your curbside bin.
3) Robots and machines are doing more plastics recycling work
Although the majority of recycling facilities still sort plastics by hand, more and more recyclers are using interesting new technologies to help make plastics recycling more efficient and easier, such as:
A robot that recognizes logos and images and segregates plastic packaging at superhuman speeds.
An infrared laser that detects different plastics for sorting and recycling.
4) Companies use recycled ocean plastics to make products for eco-minded consumers
Plastics most definitely do not belong in our oceans. Some consumer companies have found a way to help clean up our oceans and give used plastics another life. Consumer product companies along with their eco-minded customers have found a way to remove plastic litter from our oceans today and have used it to make new products such as high-performance running shoes, stylish sunglasses, and even elegant evening gowns.
5) We’re recycling more plastics
Plastics recycling has grown significantly since we began measuring in the 1990s. We’re recycling more plastics than ever before, and today we have access to recycling programs for a growing number of plastics, including bottles, cups, containers, lids, and bags/wraps.
6) It’s now possible to find recycled plastic products in your favourite stores
The next time you’re looking for new clothing, sneakers, children’s toys, or even cooking tools, try adding “recycled plastic” to your online search. Today, products that give used plastics another life aren’t as difficult to find as you may think.
Plastics are one of the most versatile and commonly used materials in the world. While no one can deny the profound impact they have had on the last 100 years of human history, our reliance on the various forms of plastic has made developing an efficient method of plastic recycling essential.