We are currently living in a time when plastic is one of the biggest pollutants. Plastic is not a renewable resource which means that unless it’s actively recycled into something else, it won’t break down and is sent to a landfill where it will stay there, polluting the environment.
Recycling is when you reuse the waste products of water bottles in order to use them again, sorting them to be repurposed. It could be that a water bottle you’re currently drinking from has been recycled multiple times, showing just how important it is to do this rather than just throw your bottle away. Plastic recycling helps to preserve the earth’s natural resources such as gas, coal and water, sustaining it for future generations. Here we answer the question – why is recycling plastic bottles so important?
How does recycling plastic help the environment?
Recycling helps the environment in a multitude of ways – some of which have been loosely touched upon above. But how does recycling plastic help the environment? And what is the purpose of recycling plastic bottles?
As well as using less of the earth’s natural resources, it also stops dangerous chemicals and greenhouse gases from being released into the air when they’re deposited at landfill sites. Being one of the worst perpetrators of harming the environment, it’s more important than ever that we all do our bit. Statistics show that a recycled bottle uses up to 75% less energy to produce than a brand new plastic bottle – a significant number that shows how such a small act can impact the environment in a highly positive way. Below we speak in a bit more detail about the individual ways that recycling plastic can help the environment and sustain it for our future generations.
It reduces greenhouse gas emissions
A greenhouse gas is something that absorbs and emits radiant energy to the earth within the thermal infrared range. This can have a significant impact on the earth and leads to global warming, rising sea levels and the melting of the ice caps. In turn, this can wipe out animal species and have a devastating impact on future generations. The production of plastic is a large contributor to the release of greenhouse gases and simply exporting and extracting the fuels needed to create plastic is extremely harmful. By recycling plastic bottles you aren’t using nearly as much fuel or necessitating such a complex process that causes the greenhouse gases in the first place.
It decreases pollution
Reducing pollution is very important when it comes to protecting the environment which is why recycling plastic bottles is so vital. When making plastic, you use a lot of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas in the production and transportation process. When plastic bottles aren’t recycled and are instead sent to a landfill or incinerated, this process puts a host of harmful pollutants and chemicals straight into the air. Recycling plastic also stops it from polluting our oceans. Not only does plastic use a lot of water in its physical production that is not sustainable, but it can also get released into the ocean harming marine life and releasing dangerous chemicals.
It conserves virgin resources
The process of extracting raw materials to make plastic is very harmful to the environment. Materials such as coal are not renewable which means we are using it at a much faster rate than it can be sustained and replaced. Once these natural materials are gone, they’re gone. The more we can help to preserve natural materials the better it is both for the short term and also for keeping the environment in a better state for future generations. As well as extracting materials, the process of transporting these to factories, and then the lorries that transport goods to shops is a huge amount. By recycling, a lot of these steps are cut out and our natural resources are preserved.
How does plastic recycling work?
While you might have recycled in the past, often we don’t think about what happens beyond dropping our bottles into that recycling bin or box. The process is a clever one and starts with the plastic being separated into types of polymers and then shredded based on its type. The sorting process happens automatically with a sorter and any impurities such as paper or other materials are removed and the plastic that is broken down is then melted and sold on to be re-used for new products. This could be a new plastic water bottle or something else for the home. Some types of plastic can be recycled up to ten times, significantly increasing the longevity of the materials and positively impacting the environment.