You’re never a few feet away from something made of plastic. You’re closer than that if you have your credit cards or cell phone with you. Too much of that plastic goes into making disposable goods, like water bottles. Use it once, and then it’s trash. What happens to waste plastic when you’re through with it? Is plastic recycling in its future?
Some people just drop empty bottles or other disposable plastics right where they happen.When they no longer want to hold on to them they just dump them. Think of all the plastic by the side of the road. If no one else picks it up for proper disposal, it will float off in the next rain storm. If it doesn’t flow into a sewer, it will get into a stream. Eventually it will wind up in the ocean. Most of the plastic that people dispose of responsibly goes to landfills. Only a small part ever gets recycled. That’s unfortunate, because every kind of waste plastic is now being used to make new goods. The more plastic recycling increases, the less crude oil has to be pumped to make virgin plastic
Those ubiquitous plastic bottles for water and soda make polyester fabric. Manufacturers use the fabric for shirts, graduation robes, etc. Without plastic recycling, they’d have to use virgin polyester. Other companies buy that same kind of waste plastic to make paneling, carpet, and even furniture. This plastic, known as PET, is the most likely to be accepted by curbside recycling programs.
In fact, nearly any kind of waste plastic, even those flimsy bags you bring home from the store, make good lumber, as well as good polyester. Even styrofoam, the most difficult plastic to recycle, reappears as any number of useful consumer products. Unfortunately, most curbside recycling programs accept only a couple of kinds of plastic. Because of the limits of curbside plastic recycling, manufacturers must get most of their raw materials from the industrial waste stream. Too much waste plastic does not get recycled
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