The next time you use a plastic product, flip it over and check the bottom for the all important number.
Many plastics aren’t recycled simply because they aren’t easily recyclable and in order for plastics to be transformed into recycled goods, they must be of decent quality.
Some plastics cannot be recycled in your council area
Thermoset plastics contain polymers that form irreversible chemical bonds and cannot be recycled no matter how much heat you apply and hence, are non-recyclable. Whereas thermoplastics can be re-melted and re-molded and therefore, recycled.
Later on this page ...... what the numbers on the bottom of your plastic product means
Every time plastic is recycled its quality decreases, the same piece of plastic can only be recycled approx. 2-3 times before it can no longer be used and ultimately still ends up in landfill.
Less than 19% of our plastic waste is currently recycled to make new plastics. A very small percentage approx. 12 percent is incinerated and up to 69% goes into landfill.
Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade and will eventually appear again in our lands, oceans and food.
Some plastics that are recycled can only be recycled once, at which point they are normally converted into a commodity which can't be recycled again. This means that once the second item reaches the end of its lifespan, so too does the original plastic – and it ends up in a landfill.
Glass and metal can be recycled infinitely, without losing quality or purity in the product.
Producing one bottle of water requires around 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the container.
Not all plastic contaminating our oceans comes from the land. Some also comes from lost containers from ships transporting plastics between countries. At least 2,980 containers have fallen off cargo ships in the Pacific ocean alone in the six month period from November 2020 to May 2021 according to the World Shipping Council. An estimate of 10,000 containers are lost annually throughout the world, which would mean the equivalent of 27 containers are lost every day.
Plastics consistently make up 80% of all marine debris studied.
Almost 1,000 species of marine animals get impacted by ocean pollution, and we now have over 500 locations recorded as dead zones where marine life cannot exist.
100 million marine animals die each year from plastic waste alone.
At the current rate, by the end of the century, our waters will be 150% more acidic than now.
70% of the oxygen we and other land animals use is directly from the sea.
...... and now, the numbers on your plastic products ...... can it be recycled?
YES ✓ PETE plastic(or PET as it is also know) is the most widely recycled. It is often used for single use clear plastic bottles.
Your Local Authority can be recycle this into polyester fabric and filling for for fleeces, carpets and cushion fillings.
There is still a limit to how many times it can be recycled.
MAYBE ? HDPE can be recycled. However, you will need to check with your Local Authority to ensure it is recycled in your area.
HDPE can be recycled into pens and detergent bottles.
Again there is a limit to how many times it can be recycled.
MAYBE ? LDPE can be recycled. However, you will need to check with your Local Authority to ensure it is recycled in your area. It can be difficult to recycle.
LDPE can be recycled into bin liners.
And, yes you guessed it, there is still a limit to how many times it can be recycled.
MAYBE ? PP can be recycled. However, you will need to check with your Local Authority to ensure it is recycled in your area.
Polypropylene can be recycled into brooms, brushes, garden rakes and plastic trays.
PP can be recycled once or twice but according to some sources a very low percentage of this gets recycled.
Other plastics are not recyclable in normal collections.
This categorises all other plastics including bioplastics, composite plastics (like crisp wrappers), plastic coated wrapping paper and polycarbonate (which contains BPA).
All is not lost
Scientist are continually trying to find better and hopefully more planet friendly ways to recycle products.
However, it is down to the consumer to let them know that we don't want to bathe, drink or eat plastics in our foods and to turn away from products using plastics and where we can't avoid doing that, then to use it as minimally as possible whilst we ourselves find ways to replace plastic in our lives.