Plastics are a great convenient commodity in today’s society, however the process of recycling items is somehow less than convenient, especially when compared against the process of recycling other items, such as paper and glass. While some products are around because they’re created from recycling plastic that has already had a use, most plastic is made new due to the complexity of creating recycled plastics. Recycling plastic is a great idea that helps the environment by keeping plastic out of landfills, however the process needs to be more focused on to continue to make
Whenever a new plastic item is created, it is marked usually, on its underside, by chasing arrows. Some mistake these errors for a recycling symbol and think that this means that the product has been recycled. Every plastic style bottle and container however has a symbol like this. Within the circle there is a number, one through seven, and this number is used to identify the particular type of plastic it is made out of. Each different type of plastic has a different property, and different common uses. When recycling, these numbers are used to separate the different types of plastic.
Once the plastics are separated into the seven different groups, they are heated to extreme temperatures to melt them down to be formed into something new. The reason for separating these items has to do with the heating process. Plastics with different numbers donating them often do not mix well when they’ve been melted down. When two different plastics are melted together, they often have a oil and water effect. Plastic number seven is polycarbonate. This is one of the most common and is used in beverage bottles, baby bottles, and the casings of electronics, while plastic number six, polystyrene is a completely different type of material, making up such things as egg cartons and packaging peanuts. These are all things to keep in mind when recycling plastic!
Plastic bags are one type that needs to be recycled whenever possible. These bags are created by the millions because of their efficiency and cheap nature, however left alone, are not at all biodegradable. In fact, when left alone, plastic bags break down into smaller and smaller toxic pieces that contaminate soil and drinking water. They also effect the environment by being commonly found polluting the oceans. Each year thousands of sea animals die from trying to ingest plastic bags that are found floating in the ocean. When cleanup projects are done around coastal areas, plastic bags are one of the most commonly found items.
Recycling plastic can be tricky, but also quite beneficial, as it eliminates the excessive plastic in the landfills. The benefits of plastic cannot be argued nor replaced in the foreseeable future, so it is best to learn how to go about making more plastic items through the process of recycling plastic instead of forcing the creation of new plastics.