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How Much of Recycled Plastic is Actually Recycled?

The Truth About Recycled Plastic

How much of the plastic we produce is recycled? You may be surprised to learn that the answer is not as high as you might think.

How much of recycled plastic is actually recycled? Only about nine percent of the plastic produced every year is recycled, according to a report from the National Association for PET Container Resources. The majority of plastic that is recycled is made into things like polyester fiber for clothing and carpeting or turned into new containers and bottles.

In this blog post, we will explore what recycled plastic is, the percentage of recycled plastic that is actually recycled, and how plastic recycling works. We will also take a look at some of the things that are made from recycled plastic!

What is Recycled Plastic?

Recycled plastic is any plastic that has been previously used and then recovered or recycled for reuse. This can include things like water bottles, food containers, packaging, and more.

When you recycle plastic, it is sorted by type (PETE or HDPE), cleaned, and then melted down into pellets. These pellets can then be used to make new products!

The Percentage of Recycled Plastic That is Recycled

As we mentioned before, only about nine percent of the plastic produced each year is recycled.

This low number is due to a few different factors. First of all, recycling plastic requires a lot of energy and resources. It is also difficult to find markets for recycled plastic because it is often of lower quality than virgin plastic.

Another reason for the low recycling rate is that many people are not aware of what can be recycled or how to recycle it. For example, did you know that you can recycle plastic bags and wraps? Most people don’t!

Is Commerical Plastic Recycling More Prevalent?

The answer to this question is a little complicated. While it is true that commercial recycling facilities are more likely to recycle plastic than individuals, the vast majority of recycled plastic still comes from household recycling programs.

Only about seven percent of all recycled plastic is collected by commercial facilities. The other 92 percent is collected through municipal recycling programs.

What Country Most Effectively Recycles Plastic?

You might be surprised to learn that the country with the highest recycling rate for plastic is not actually Europe or North America. It is, in fact, China.

China recycled about three million metric tons of plastic in 2016, which is about 36 percent of all recycled plastic. This is an impressive feat considering that China only started seriously recycling plastic in 1998!

How Plastic Recycling Works?

Plastic recycling is a bit more complicated than recycling other materials like glass or paper. This is because there are so many different types of plastic, each with its properties and uses.

Sorting the Plastic

The first step in recycling plastic is sorting it by type. The most common types of plastic are PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene).

Cleaning the Plastic

Once the plastic is sorted, it is then cleaned to remove any contaminants like food or dirt.

Melting the Plastic

After the plastic is clean, it is melted down and formed into pellets. These pellets can be used to make new products!

Types of Plastic That Can Be Recycled

Not all plastic can be recycled, but the most common types of plastic (PETE and HDPE) can be.

Some other types of plastic that can be recycled include:

  • PETE: water bottles, soda bottles, peanut butter jars
  • HDPE: milk jugs, bleach bottles, shampoo bottles
  • LDPE: plastic bags, bread bags, sandwich bags
  • PVC: pipes, hoses, shower curtains

How Do You Know If Something Can Be Recycled?

The best way to find out if something can be recycled is to look for the recycling symbol. This symbol will be on most items that can be recycled.

The recycling symbol is usually a triangle made of arrows. The arrows represent the different steps in the recycling process: sorting, cleaning, melting, and pelletizing.

If an item has this symbol on it, chances are it can be recycled!

Why Is It Important to Recycle Plastic?

Now that we know a little bit more about recycled plastic, you might be wondering why it is so important to recycle it.

Well, recycling plastic can help to reduce pollution, conserve resources, and save energy.

For example, when you recycle a water bottle, it takes less energy to make a new one from recycled plastic than it does to make one from virgin plastic.

Recycling plastic also helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or the ocean.

Are There Downfalls to Recycling Plastic?

While recycling plastic is a great way to reduce pollution and conserve resources, there are some downfalls to this process.

First of all, as we mentioned before, recycling plastic requires a lot of energy and resources.

Additionally, recycled plastic is often of lower quality than virgin plastic. This means that it can only be used for certain things and has a shorter lifespan than virgin plastic.

Finally, many people are not aware of what can be recycled or how to recycle it. This lack of education leads to a lot of recyclable materials ending up in landfills.

Some Things Made from Recycled Plastic

There are a lot of different things that can be made from recycled plastic. Some common examples include:

  • Water bottles
  • Food containers
  • Recycled plastic lumber
  • Clothing
  • Carpeting

As you can see, recycling plastic is a great way to reduce waste and create new products!

What Can Be Made From Recycled Plastic?

Now that we know a little bit more about recycled plastic, let’s take a look at some of the things that can be made from it:

Water Bottles

One of the most common items made from recycled plastic is water bottles. Most water bottles that you see in stores are made from recycled plastic!

Food Containers

Another common item made from recycled plastic is food containers. This includes things like Tupperware, take-out containers, and more.

Recycled Plastic Lumber

One of the newer uses for recycled plastic is recycled plastic lumber. This lumber is made from 100% recycled plastic and can be used for things like decks, fences, playgrounds, and more.

Clothing

Did you know that some clothing is made from recycled plastic? It’s true! Some examples of clothing made from recycled plastic include fleece jackets, yoga pants, and more.

Carpeting

Another common use for recycled plastic is carpeting. Carpet made from recycled plastic is often used in office buildings, hotels, and more.

As you can see, there are a lot of different things that can be made from recycled plastic!

Can Recycled Plastic Materials Be Recycled Again?

Now that we know what can be made from recycled plastic, you might be wondering if these materials can be recycled again.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Recycled plastic can only be recycled once. After that, it needs to be disposed of in a landfill.

While this is unfortunate, it is still better to recycle plastic than to throw it away in the trash.

How You Can Help Reduce Plastic Pollution

Now that you know a little bit more about recycled plastic, you might be wondering how you can help reduce plastic pollution. Here are some tips:

  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics like water bottles and straws.
  • Reuse items when possible instead of throwing them away.
  • Recycle your plastic bottles and containers.
  • Educate others about the importance of recycling plastic.

By following these tips, you can help to reduce plastic pollution and make a difference!

Commercial Plastic Recycling

If you have a business that produces a lot of plastic waste, you might be wondering what you can do to recycle it.

Fortunately, many companies offer commercial plastic recycling services. These companies will pick up your plastic waste and recycle it for you!

By working with a commercial plastic recycling company, you can help to reduce pollution, conserve resources, and save money on your waste disposal costs.

Do Your Part to Reduce Plastic Waste

Now that you know a little bit more about recycled plastic, we hope that you’ll be inspired to do your part to reduce plastic waste.

Remember, recycling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce your environmental impact!

If you’re not sure how to recycle plastic in your area, a quick internet search will give you all the information you need.

Final Thoughts

While recycling plastic is a great way to reduce pollution and conserve resources, there are some downfalls to the process. However, we believe that the benefits of recycling far outweigh the drawbacks!

Related Questions

How can I recycle plastic in my area?

The best way to recycle plastic in your area is to contact your local waste management company or find a commercial plastic recycling company that offers pick-up services.

How much plastic is recycled each year?

The amount of plastic recycled each year varies depending on the region. However, it is estimated that approximately 30% of all plastic waste is recycled globally.

What are some other ways to reduce my environmental impact?

In addition to recycling, there are many other ways you can reduce your environmental impact. Some of these include reducing your energy consumption, composting food waste, and more.

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