A idiots’ guide to recycling plastic

By Marilyn Sheridan, in Health & Environment, Renature 09-04-2021 01:00:00 0 Comments

And seven things you might not know about recycling!

I’m not saying that you, the reader, are an idiot, but the process of recycling plastic is more complex than you think and without getting too technical, have you wondered how it’s done? It depends on all of us – from the designer of the item to us as consumers, to the garbage collector and recycling factory worker – how we use our products and how we throw them away determines their value and quality.

Did you know that every piece of plastic ever made exists to this day? Plastic is simply indestructible. To make matters worse, if we continue to pollute our oceans with plastic waste, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic swimming around than fish – a staggering eight million tons of plastic waste is already in our waters. A sobering thought for the not too distant future.

Here are the 7 things you might know by now:

  • Not all plastic is recyclable – straws, coffee cups, and bubble wrap are some that cannot be.
  • Not all plastics are created equal – would you think there are 7 different types?
  • Coffee cups are not recyclable – it may seem like paper – which is what it is – but inside there is a thin layer of plastic that can hardly be separated without special machines.
  • You can’t recycle dirty plastic – so take a minute to flush it if you can.
  • Every time you recycle plastic, it is downgraded – the polymer chain shortens. It can only be used two or three times.
  • There is no limit to the uses of glass and metal – so in reality it makes more sense to buy the bottle or can version of your drink!
  • If you’re not sure if it’s plastic or paper, sometimes you have a choice of “everything else” while throwing things away. So next time you use a plastic product, flip it over and check the bottom. If you see # 7 in the middle of a triangle with three arrows, then you can’t be sure whether it’s recyclable or non-recyclable (apparently even people and recyclers in the plastics industry sometimes can’t tell).

I recently read that many world-famous fashion designers came up with the idea of ​​making fashionable clothes out of recycled plastic. Believe it or not, the future of fashion could tend to go completely green. Sewing sustainable clothing to save the planet is a trend that can hit any runway, and that’s how it all works.

Basically, the bottles are broken up into small flakes, then these flakes are melted a few times, filtered and spun into threads.

Later these threads can be used in the textile industry, from swimwear to running socks. The filler for sleeping bags is made from recycled water bottles, and some cozy fleece jackets are woven from recycled plastic.

I had a great gift yesterday, it was a pair of slippers (I’m going through slippers like no one has been since the lockdown!) That were made from recycled plastic with 8 recycled bottles used for the upper and the durable hard soles Castor was made beans! Who knew about this level of recycling? They have the appearance of thick felt with a hard sole and are very comfortable.

Apparently it takes about 10 bottles to make enough plastic fiber to make a t-shirt and 63 bottles to make a sweater (I’ll admit I haven’t knowingly come across either!). I read that it just takes time

14 bottles for sufficient insulation for a ski jacket and 114 bottles for sufficient insulation for a sleeping bag.

So who knows – if you keep recycling and the next item of clothing you buy could be made from your own recycled water bottles!

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