While you may simply toss your plastic water bottle into your recycling bin and never think of it again, it is important to recognize the value of recycling as it pertains to your own life and the environment in which you live.
Recycling is a world of its own, a vital business that has an impact on the environment and businesses around the world.
Here are some fast facts about plastic bottle recycling you may not know:
500 Year Life Span
When plastic bottles are tossed out as trash, they will sit in a landfill for as long as 500 years until full decomposition.
Plastics aren’t biodegradable and there is no natural process in existence that can break down plastics in the environment.
Many communities make recycling an option rather than a requirement. Even without 100% participation, recycling is the number one action you can take to improve the environment.
Recycling your plastic bottles is also the most effective way to prevent ocean pollution, which translates to saving marine life, human food sources, and other natural resources.
It’s estimated by The MacArther Foundation that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Exist
Somewhere between the coast of California and the coast of Hawaii is an enormous floating dump. According to one study, the trash mass is now more than 600,000 square miles, or roughly twice the size of Texas.
This floating dump is made up of 90% plastic and weighs in at an estimated 3.5 million tons. It is perhaps the largest unintentional landfill in the world.
Recycling Means Jobs
The recycling business could potentially generate 1.5 million jobs in the U.S. if participation in recycling programs reached just 75%. Current participation levels hover around 21%, according to an EPA funded study by Yale University.
American Produce The Most
While the United States doesn’t boast the largest population, its citizens produce more waste than any other country in the world.
Recycling Can Have Enormous Impact
If the U.S. was able to reach its goal of 75% participation in recycling, it would have the equivalent impact of eliminating over 50 million cars from the environment every year.
In the United States alone, more than 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown out every hour of the day, especially plastic water bottles. However, by recycling just one ton of those bottles, there would be energy conservation opportunities equal to the energy a household of two produces in one year.
Low Recycling Numbers
Less than 3 million tons of plastic bottles are recycled each year around the country. While that may seem like a lot of plastic, that amount represents less than 8% of the total plastic waste produced in America.
Confusion Is Recycling's Downfall
Even though billions of dollars have been spent to raise awareness about recycling, recycling activity hasn’t risen in the past two decades because people are still confused about how to recycle properly.
Need for Standardization
Recycling confusion is often due to fear of making mistakes at the recycling bin. Therefore, people would rather throw their plastic bottle out with the trash rather than decipher what different recycling labels mean.
This has created a steady push for standardized labels that will make recycling directions easier to understand and follow for the general public.
Manufacturers Are Missing Out
Many plastic bottle manufacturers are eager to receive their products back through recycling programs and as PCR or post-consumer resin. These materials can be reused over and over to make new products if recycled properly.
By recycling just five PET plastic bottles, you would have enough material to make a square foot of carpeting, or enough filler to stuff an adult winter coat.
Approximately 88% of the energy it takes to make new plastic bottles using oil and gas can be saved if new products could be made using recycled plastic containers.
Saving Natural Resources
By recycling just one ton of plastic, up to 2,000 gallons of gasoline could be saved, making huge strides in the protection of our energy resources.
Plastic bottle manufacturers are doing their share to reduce plastic waste.
Many have successfully reduced bottle weights by up to 30% in recent years, saving millions of pounds in packaging each year.
Clearly, recycling is an important step in saving our humanity, our environment, and our natural resources. At O.Berk.com, we take great pride in our plastic manufacturing responsibilities and offer a large selection of highly-recyclable plastic bottles and beverage containers.