Plastic recycling has come a long way from where it was a few years ago. The waste recycling industry is constantly developing and incorporating new technologies for recycling plastic materials and turning them into new products. However, there are still a number of myths about recycling plastics circulating around. Taking those myths at face value can be dangerous as it creates a false view of waste disposal and recycling in the eye of the public. Here are the 4 most common myths about recycling plastic – busted.
1. Public disinterest in plastic recycling is too strong to overcome
For a number of years, it has been taken for granted that public apathy towards plastic waste collection and recycling is too strong and the society cannot be won over for the idea that recycling is more beneficial and efficiently engaged into contributing to recycling plastic waste. Luckily, in the last few years there has been a considerable shifting of views in that regard and recycling plastic waste is now viewed by most people as the most viable alternative from both an economic and an environmental point of view. So don’t listen to all the naysayers, as the public is much more green-focused today and, given the provision to do so with a proper system and bins in place, would gladly recycle.
2. Leave plastic caps off
In regards to plastic caps, it has long been the general belief that they should be left off the bottles as they cannot be recycled or should be reprocessed separately as they are made of a different type of plastic. However, in recent years the recycling industry has developed significantly and they have announced that caps can be kept on the bottles, as plastic recyclers now have special practices for sorting the lids and caps and curbing the issue of repurposing caps separately. However, further education of the community is certainly necessary in order to embrace this change in the way plastic waste removal and recycling is done.
3. Recycling plastic takes up more energy than producing it anew
You’ve surely heard this question before: “Doesn’t it take more energy to wash a plastic container, dispose of it, get it sorted in the proper bin, take it to a recycling plant, grind it, clean it again, reprocess it and then transport it to another plant to create a new product than it will take to produce afresh?” If you put it that way, it is quite understandable why people believe in the myth that plastic waste recycling doesn’t conserve energy but wastes more energy instead. However, this belief is totally wrong founded. In fact, a survey on the lifecycle of plastics from 2010 shows that for each pound of recycled PET flakes utilised instead of newly produced ones, the reduction of energy use is by 84% and the reduction of GHG emissions – by 71.1%.
4. It will all end up in a landfill anyway
This myth about recycling plastic is probably the most frustrating of them all. All facts point against that. In fact, the recycling capacity in the United Kingdom has significantly increased over the last decade. Although there are still many challenges to plastic waste recycling due to the insufficient facilities for sorting and repurposing plastic materials, steps are taken in the direction of improving the facilities. The Plastics 2020 Challenge, for instance, is an initiative started by the recycling industry for educating the British public on the benefits of repurposing plastic, its reusing and the proper ways of plastic waste disposal.
Although there are still many dangerous misconceptions surrounding the topic of recycling plastic waste materials, the public is slowly but steadily embracing the idea and understands its benefits for both the environment and the economy. Stop believing those myths and start recycling instead – this is the future of waste management!
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