Most households and companies know to recycle for the obvious reason that it’s good for the environment. Some items are clearly recyclable, such as aluminum soda cans and cardboard cereal boxes. However, others are less so and end up in the garbage bin when they have a place in the recycle container. One such item is plastic. Of course, plastic falls into many sub-categories; find out what is usually recyclable, how to do it, and why it’s beneficial.
Why Recycle Plastic?
Manufacturing plastic goods from recycled plastic consumes about two-thirds less energy than developing the same goods from new plastic. It’s estimated that about four barrels of oil are saved for every 1,000-pounds of plastic recycled.
Furthermore, plastic is also a burden for landfills. Plastic is not easily biodegradable like wood-derived products, such as paper and cardboard. A typical plastic water bottle, for instance, can take up to 450 years to completely decompose. Plastic grocery bags can take up to 1,000-years. Here’s something else to consider: 7.4-cubic yards of landfill space is conserved for every 1,000-pounds of plastic recycled.
That’s not all; while most discarded plastic products end up in a landfill, others are burned. Under heat exposure, plastic releases the infamous and dangerous chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA) into the air. Plastic that ends up in the ocean can also leach BPA into the water.
Plastics That Are Recyclable
Find out what types of plastics are recyclable in your municipality. The guidelines regarding what can and can’t go in the recycle bin often differ slightly between districts. Some plastic items are obviously recyclable, such as disposable water bottles. Most polystyrene products, such as plastic utensils, are also recyclable.
To determine an item’s disposable status, look for the following symbol:
- PET (or PETE)
Products with these symbols are recyclable. We must stress, though, that not all curbside recycle programs accept these items. Once again, check with your local district. If not recyclable in your local area, consider using as few of these items as possible.
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For the refuse industry, handling plastic waste is a part of the job description. Our waste management truck fleet solutions provide the answer for efficient handling of waste and recyclables. Handling discarded plastic in a responsible manner is everyone’s responsibility, from consumers to those in the waste haul sector. Our garbage truck rentals make this responsibility more manageable. Contact us today.