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Recycling Plastic: Why so Important to the Earth?

October 5, 2020

Plastic, plastic, plastic. Wherever you go, you’re sure to find plastic. It goes without saying, plastic is one of the most versatile materials that we make use of. At the same time, we’ve seen the war waged against plastic in the last decade. With the number of plastics that end up in the trash and subsequently in landfills, recycling is now more important than ever.

As you may already be aware, there are a myriad of different types of plastics, many of which can be recycled. So, why is it so important that we recycle plastic? Today, we’ll have a look at 5 reasons why recycling plastic is important and something that everyone should do in a bid to help our environment, marine life and mother earth. Read on to find out more!

1. The Almost Immortal Plastic

Did you know that it takes anywhere between 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade? That’s almost 10 centuries for a plastic bottle or cartridge to degrade back into the environment. Now think about that and multiply it by the amount of plastic used worldwide on a daily basis. The effects of this are well beyond comprehension and hard to reconcile in our minds. When plastic is dumped into landfills, they clog up precious space and take centuries to break down. Alternatively, plastics that are not recycled may be sent to processing facilities where they are burnt, releasing toxic fumes into the environment. The solution? Recycle. Recycled plastic is melted and formed into pellets which can then be made into other products instead of sitting at the bottom of a landfill waiting for the next millennium to arrive!

2. The Destruction Of Marine Life

One of the saddest and most devastating effects of plastic disposal is the destruction of marine life. Hundreds of thousands of fish, sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals become entangled in or ingest plastic debris which in turn causes painful suffocation, starvation and drowning. Plastic waste kills up to 1 million seabirds a year simply by ingesting plastic that is thrown into the ocean. This plastic then takes up room in their stomachs, preventing them from eating actual food and thus causes them to starve to death. This gut-wrenching fact alone is enough reason for us to really start taking the recycling of plastics seriously.

3. Reduction Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide are emitted when we burn non-renewable fossil fuels to make plastic. As you may already know, greenhouse gases have severe environmental and health effects and contribute greatly to global warming. They also contribute to respiratory diseases from smog and air pollution, thus affecting the lives of millions around the world. By recycling plastic, we effectively lower oil consumption in the manufacturing of new plastic, thus reducing greenhouse gases at the same time. In other words, recycling plastic helps mitigate global warming and reduces air pollution for a happier, healthier Earth.

4. Reduced Unemployment Rates

Unlike regular solid waste management which is a highly mechanised process, recycling on the other hand is much more human labour intensive. The collection, sorting and processing activities of recycling often cannot be done by machines, thus creating jobs for thousands of unemployed people all around the world. Recycling is a process that begins with material collection from warehouses, bins, drop off points and demolition centres. After collection, these materials go through a sorting process to separate different kinds of recyclables. Environment Victoria estimates that by increasing recycling rates to 80%, we would effectively be creating an additional 2,310 jobs in the state alone. In the U.S, achieving a recycling rate of 75% by 2030 is estimated to create a whopping 1.1 million new jobs, thus strengthening the economy and at the same time offering people a means to earn a living.

5. Conservation Of Energy

Did you know that manufacturing plastic products often consists of a number of stages that include material extraction, processing, manufacturing, product use and finally disposal? By choosing to recycle, we eliminate one crucial part of that process -- the disposal of plastic items. According to recent studies, recycling just one ton of plastic saves an astonishing 5.774kWh of energy. In layman's terms, that is equivalent to the energy consumed by two adult human beings in a whole year!

6. Conserving Natural Resources

Mother Earth has gifted us with an abundance of natural resources, however, these resources are also finite. Many resources are now scarce which has led to the push for more eco-friendly living and recycling. Recycling plastic means lessening the need to create new plastic which is a good thing considering plastics are made from fossil fuel hydrocarbons. Similarly, when we recycle items such as paper, we also conserve the earth’s precious trees and forests which are disappearing at a devastating rate.

7. Recycled Plastics Can Be Reborn

Instead of unnecessarily ending up in landfills, plastics that are recycled can be incredibly useful and used to make items such as shampoo bottles, floor tiles, traffic cones, oil funnels and even mats and rugs. There are even some more recent and incredibly innovative ways of using recycled plastic for creating construction decks, sleeping bags, insulation for jackets and even lawn furniture! Why throw your plastic away when it can be remade and repurposed into something that can be beneficial to not just yourself but also the general public? Sounds like a great deal to me!

8. Save Our Landfills

Lastly, recycling plastic is an incredibly effective way of saving space in our landfills. Plastics that are otherwise disposed of in the trash take up monumental amounts of space in landfills and increase the amount of solid waste we produce per day. In fact, recycling just one ton of plastic can result in 7.4 cubic yards of space being saved! This in turns helps to reduce land and water pollution, leading to a healthier, happier planet for all creatures to enjoy. and increase the amount of solid waste.

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And there you have it - 8 simple reasons as to why recycling plastic is so important. It is important to note that all original printer cartridge manufacturers subsidise the zero-waste recycling of their products, however, it is not always easy to take advantage of that. Planet Ark offers a centralised collection service for many years but similarly, it is not always the most convenient option for home users. Thankfully, CartridgesDirect offers a Free Home Collection service for all the products they sell to their customers, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!

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