Nine amazing facts about plastic recycling
Plastic as far back as the 1950s was the future. It was highly regarded as the original wonder material, low cost, adaptable, quickly produced, and an essential tool in increasing the global post-war economy. Despite the long-time presence of other materials like rubber and Bakelite, the reality for the many uses of plastic encircled on the utopian, as the second surge of plastics was developed during the war, ensuring the ubiquity of most multi-purpose polymers.
However, it didn’t take long before the loopholes showed up, opening the eyes of manufacturers and consumers to the downside of the attributes that made plastic attractive. Not long, plastics were just about on every corner on earth with the durable quality of this material, making plastic products outlive their utility.
Presently, The cases around our mingling with plastics are well recorded. Still, there’s an advancement in work to manage the waste created even as the production of plastic continues to grow. Today, expanding recycling industries now make visible changes in the pile-up of plastic consumed, and the word “recycling” now holds more meaning to eco-conscious citizens. Here, we look at nine amazing facts on plastic recycling that drives industries prepared to deal with the ever-rising piles of plastic.
Plastic Recycling Facts
Just 9% of the plastics ever produced has been recycled — Recycling is surely topping its game with the rate of recycling now estimated to be around 20% around the world. But there has been a slow catch up for industries and consumers since the first plastic recycling processes began in the 70s. Just 9% has been recycled out of the 8.3 billion metric tons estimate produced since 1950, and the remnant is sent to landfill or incineration.
The plastic recycling business is expected to be worth $56 billion come 2026 — As it stands, the global plastic recycling market is about $34 billion. With the current rise in customer awareness and the steps taken in making plastic industries take greater responsibility will see an increase in the estimated worth over the next 5–10 years.
Recycled plastics conserve energy — Lower energy of about 88% is required for the manufacture of recycled plastic products, in comparison to new plastic products. This is as a result of the much energy put into the creation of new plastic from raw resources such as petroleum or natural gas, during manufacture.
A million plastic bottles are sold every minute — Every minute, an estimate of about one million plastic bottles are sold worldwide, resulting to about 480 billion bottles in 2016. There is a chance for this number to increase to 20% by 2020. Most bottles are recyclable; still, reusable bottles offer a much more sustainable option than one-time-use bottles.
Products may require many materials that make recycling difficult — During the recycling process, there would be the need for separation of materials of many products that bear the universal recycling symbol, because they may contain many other materials. For instance, it is nearly impossible to separate blister packs used for pills, which contains recyclable plastic and aluminum, both of which are hard to separate.
Recycled plastics drop in quality — Plastics lose quality during their recycling process in contrast to aluminum and glass. It could take one time or two times the recycling of most plastics before they become useless. Also, recycling of products is never as plain as “a bottle for a bottle” since most recycled plastics find usage in non-food grade products.
Plastic could be dispatched abroad for recycling — China imported two-thirds of the world’s plastic waste, not until 2018, when they banned the importation of any more plastics, and this exterminated a significant exit for the world’s recyclable waste. However, this is a call for the countries that generate the most plastics waste to improve on their recycling measures, own up to their problems instead of relegating it to some other people, and in turn, the recycling industries will match the challenge.
Recycled plastic can be applied in a wide range of products — Currently, there are limitless uses and applications to recycled plastics, ranging from fabric materials used in clothing to insulation used in construction. Also, there would be a spread of innovative means to the application of recycled plastics used in industries globally, as the availability of recycled materials continues to rise.
Scientists are developing bacteria that eats plastic — There is an evolution of other environmentally friendly ways to separate plastics into reusable products, even as there are the traditional recycling processes which involve, separating, shredding and melting plastics. There is an excellent hope In the exploration of the newly found method of plastic recycling, a bacteria that naturally dissolved plastics, as was discovered by scientists in 2018.
The Future of Plastic Recycling
Recycling, although it is on the rise, is the only answer to the recent spread of plastic waste. There must be an added effort to plastic recycling in the way we consume and also in the way companies package their products. Thankfully, consumers avoid using single-use packaging as they are more conscious of their role in the environment when they can. On the other hand, industries are urged to imbibe more environmentally and friendly options, in place of plastic, especially single-use plastic packaging.
In summary, we cannot underrate the need for cradle-to-cradle thinking, as it would also go a long way to lighten the burden on recycling sites and give them better chances to work more adequately and process plastic waste effectively, if we can keep packaging and containers in reuse for a more extended period, as much as possible.
Give Dimension a try today — we are a sustainability-first waste management company that will recycle your plastics responsibly.