Why Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling Must be the Gold Commonplace

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Objects constituted of recycled plastics are sizzling commodities proper now. Corporations are dashing to make all the pieces from sneakers to pc mouses to automobile components out of recycled and “ocean-bound” plastics, and demand for recycled plastics has never been higher.

That is fairly nice information, as a result of to maintain plastics out of our ocean, we need to do it all: scale back the quantity of plastics we produce; higher handle and recycle what we do produce; and clear up no matter does get out into the surroundings. We’d like recycling to work to assist maintain plastics out of our ocean, however not each path from the recycling bin results in the identical constructive affect.

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For starters, the Environmental Safety Company estimates that one in 4 objects positioned in recycling bins results in landfills. Whereas landfills are definitely much less environmentally damaging locations for trash than the ocean, this nonetheless means materials is wasted.

A lot of what we throw into our recycling bins—and what is found on beaches and waterways around the world—is plastic packaging. Lower than 20% of the plastic packaging that does get recycled is turned again into packaging. The overwhelming majority is recycled into sturdy items like textiles and carpet, piping, buckets and different merchandise.

It’s nice that this packaging waste shouldn’t be ending up within the ocean or perhaps a landfill—at the least not instantly; however the catch is that these new merchandise are sometimes not recycled once more.  Each time a plastic bottle will get recycled into something aside from a plastic bottle, we nonetheless must make a brand new plastic  bottle  to exchange it. Since 99% of plastics are constituted of fossil fuels, meaning we have to extract extra oil. So in an effort to remove waste, scale back our reliance on fossil fuels, and sort out ocean plastic air pollution, we want a steady loop the place plastics—and plastic packaging specifically—are re-circulated time and again.

recycling bin filled with plastic bottles and bagsrecycling bin filled with plastic bottles and bags
© pepe ceron-balsas/Unsplash

For this reason incineration or waste-to-energy applied sciences should not acceptable options to the ocean plastics disaster. Roughly 16% of plastics within the U.S. are incinerated and used (similar to fossil fuels) to generate power. As soon as these plastics are burned, they’re gone, and the loop has been damaged.

Chemical recycling, generally known as “superior recycling,” is much like incineration in that it produces power from plastic waste. The distinction is that the plastics are transformed into gas (like crude oil or artificial pure fuel) by means of chemical processes somewhat than burned outright. In each situations, although, the loop is damaged, and there are not any extra plastics to get well. That’s why we consider chemical recycling is, at finest, a distraction from the true systemic adjustments we have to maintain plastics out of our ocean and break our habit to fossil fuels. The gold customary for recycling is straightforward: plastics-to-plastics, bottle-to-bottle.

Check out these fact sheets on plastics and recycling to learn more!

The publish Why Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling Needs to be the Gold Standard appeared first on Ocean Conservancy.

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