Plastic is all around us. It’s versatile, durable, and cheap to produce. As a consequence, plastic production has increased exponentially over the last couple of decades. The world produces close to 350 million tons of plastic each year. Nearly half of the plastic ever manufactured has been made since the year 2000. More than 40% of the plastic produced is for packaging which is used once and then disposed of in landfills. Plastic can be a lifesaving miracle but at the same time it can be a detriment to the planet if it’s not handled properly.
There are many benefits of recycling plastic, and here are our top 6 reasons why should we recycle plastic:
1. The Great Pacific garbage patch (GPGP)
Every year, close to 8 million tons of garbage ends up in the oceans. The plastic waste dumped in the world’s oceans finds its way to one of the five accumulation zones. The largest one is The Great Pacific garbage patch. It’s the size of not one, but two Texas states, and is estimated to contain around 80,000 tons of plastic.
This “plastic island” consists of 180 trillion pieces of waste, mostly micro-plastics, which pose a great threat to marine life. Due to the size and color of micro-plastic pieces animals confuse it with food, causing malnutrition. Larger pieces of plastic, especially fish nets, make up a large part of the GPGP, and pose a great risk of entanglement, from which sea turtles suffer the most.
2. High Economic Impact
Recycling a ton of plastic waste generates twice the economic impact as opposed to disposing of it in a landfill. Additionally, recycling a ton of plastic will pay $101 more in wages and salaries, produce $275 more in goods and services, and generate $135 more in sales. In addition to creating jobs, recycling generates around 200 million dollars in sales tax revenue on the local level, funds which local governments use to pay for social services and public safety programs, etc.
3. Energy Conservation
Manufacturing of a product usually consists of a number of stages including: materials extraction, processing and manufacturing, product use, and product disposal. If you can eliminate a step in that process, you can save energy. According to a study, recycling a ton of plastic saves energy equal to 5.774 kWh. That’s equivalent to the energy consumed by two human beings for a year.
4. Saving Petroleum
Plastic is made from natural gas or crude oil derivatives. A large amount of petroleum is used in the production of new plastic products. Up to 40% of oil consumption can be reduced by recycling plastic waste, so recycling a ton of plastic can save as much as 16.3 barrels of oil.
5. Reduction of CO2 Emission
As a direct result of oil consumption reduction, emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases drastically decreases. Greenhouse gases are emitted while burning non-renewable fossil fuels to make plastic. Since recycling plastic lowers oil consumption in the manufacturing of new plastic, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, too.
A study by the European Commission suggests that increasing the use of recycled materials could substantially reduce the carbon footprint of plastic packaging. In other words, recycling plastic helps mitigate global warming and reduces air pollution.
6. Saving Landfill Space
The process of recycling plastic helps waste management by saving available space in landfills. Plastics disposed of in the trash take up a lot of space and increase the amount of solid waste. Recycling a ton of plastic can save 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space helping to reduce land and water pollution.
Does your business create scrap plastic that needs to be recycled? Here at Consolidated Resources Inc., we use the latest technologies in recycling plastic and create custom recycling solutions for your business.
Want to find out more about why it is important to recycle plastic, recycling processes, and how we can help? Check out our services page and contact us to find out what Consolidated Resources Inc. can do for you!