Facts About Recycling Plastic

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Plastics are chemical chains of molecules or polymers generated from smaller molecules called monomers and differentiated by their molecular shape and structure. Plastics are widely used in containers and packaging, durable goods and non-durable goods such as trash bags and diapers.

Fact 1. Recycling rates for plastic varies from 8 percent or 2.4 million tons in 2010. The recycling rate for HDPE bottles is around 28 percent whereas 29 percent of PET bottles were recycled in 2010.

Fact 2.   Recycled plastic from curbside recycling bins is normally converted into secondary products such as textiles, parking lot bumpers, or plastic lumber, basically all non-recyclable products.

Fact 3.    Plastics while decomposing emit methane, a gas 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide, representing 4 percent of emissions from landfills.

Fact 4.  Plastics constitute a threat to marine life as annually 6 million tons of rubbish find its way to the oceans, 80 percent is plastic encompassing 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile of ocean. Plastic waste can be mistaken for food by foraging animals or cause entanglement resulting in a painful, slow death. Annually, more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals face death due to plastics.

Fact 5.  Bottlenecks and six-pack holders should be cut when disposed of in order to prevent harming animals.

Fact 6. The recycling of plastic conserves twice as much energy as burning items in an incinerator.

Fact 7. The energy conserved by recycling one, plastic, drink bottle can provide power for running a computer for 25 minutes.

Fact 8.  There are systems capable of grinding plastic, such as milk jugs, soda bottles and bad prints into plastic filaments for 3D printers.

Fact 9. Energy from the conversion of plastics can be recovered to be used as a fuel. This is known as ‘œthermal recycling’ or a  recycled energy process. Energy recovered from this process can be considered as an alternative energy source.

Fact 10. Tests conducted on used plastic have found that 96 percent of the available energy was recovered from 578 pounds of polyethylene when thermally recycled. The amount of energy was equivalent to 11.1 million BTUs of natural gas.

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