By Joseph Toth
For decades America has been recycling plastic. The reason behind this is the fact that plastic takes hundreds of years to break down in our land fills. That’s much longer than metal, paper and wood. For this reason, recycling procedures have gotten stricter, and include new procedures for the disposal of things like televisions, computers, air conditioners and appliances. Plastic is one material we need to keep out of our landfills. Recycling is one way to accomplish this.
There are several different types of plastic resins: PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, and PS.
Recycled PET shows up in our every day lives in products like bottles, automobile parts and carpets and clothing.
HDPE comes back in the form of thicker bottles that we see as laundry detergent bottles and motor oil bottles. It also comes back in the form of some types of piping and garden supplies for landscaping.
PVC comes back as things like playground equipment, gun & hunting cases, and flooring products used in homes and businesses of all kinds.
LDPE comes back as bags, waste baskets, recycle containers and some building materials. This polypropylene material is also good for use in things like car battery casings, textiles, packing materials and so on.
Recycling these materials, as you can see, is very beneficial to us. Using recycled plastics instead of new plastics costs less to manufacture something too. Recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to run one sixty watt light bulb for half a night. Something worth thinking about the next time you watch that big truck pick up your recycle items. That one collection truck is probably carrying enough plastic to save enough energy to power your home for a week or more.
In order for America to really benefit from recycling, … we need everyone to do their part. There is still to much plastic getting into the landfills. This is evident just by driving through any metropolitan city. Plastic water and soda bottles on roadways and expressways will eventually end up inside a street sweeper truck. Where does the garbage go when you empty out a street sweeper? It goes in the landfills of coarse.
Some cities have restrictions on what kind of plastics you can put out for collection by the recycle collection trucks. If you’re not sure of what plastics you can put out for the truck, … call the company that does the collecting in your area.
The same goes for if you have a unusual amount of plastic to discard. Some good examples of this are some of the huge backyard toys that are made. Some of these toy play centers get almost as big as cars, and they’re all plastic. Too much plastic to head for a landfill. Another example is the discarding of a old plastic kiddie swimming pool. Again, nothing but plastic, … and to much plastic to be sent to a landfill. The recycling center in charge of your neighborhood should be able to answer questions regarding these things.
Some big cities actually have sites to take such large pieces of plastic. Sites like this then feed the items into big industrial shredders where the plastic comes out the other end in pieces the size of cornflakes. Then from that site it is crated up in pallet containers and shipped off to another site that recycles it further, where it comes one step closer to being reborn as another product entirely.
The next time you walk barefoot across the carpet in your home, think of how many recycled bottles it took to make that carpet. Technology is amazing, isn’t it.
Reporter Joseph Toth
Washington Micro Bank BBS
About the Author:
I was raised in Wisconsin as a hard working individual. As a teenager I worked on a farm until I became a adult. I have never worked less than two jobs at a time until I turned 44.
I don’t, … (and never have) smoke, drink, drug or gamble. In 2005 I successfully gave up caffeine entirely and haven’t had any since.
My hobbies are automobiles, electronics, driving and photography.
I have many friends, and I am well known in the tri-village area I live in.
My adult careers that stayed with me long term are commercial driver and loss prevention agent.