Recycling responsibly is an essential part of reducing plastic consumption and increasing the use of recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic. There are seven main types of recyclable plastics: PET, HDPE, PP, LDPE, PVC, PS and others. It's worth noting that even recyclable plastics can be considered non-recyclable if not properly prepared for recycling. Polypropylene (PP) has an incredibly low recycling rate of only about 1%.
This is due to its lightweight nature, which makes it bulky and difficult to transport. To recycle items that are not accepted locally, such as deodorant containers, mail-order recycling options like Terracycle can be used. Fragile plastics like plastic bags and films cannot be recycled at home. However, most supermarkets have plastic bag recycling points where these items can be dropped off for recycling.
Unfortunately, very little of this type of plastic is recycled (between 0.1% and 3% in the United States). Innovations in technology are helping to create better recycling systems to separate PP from HDPE. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States Department of Energy are working on a process that combines recycled PET with other materials (such as waste biomass from plants) to produce recycled material that is more durable than the original plastic. Virgin polypropylene is cheaper to produce than its recycled version, so there aren't many incentives to recycle it. However, it's also worth noting that there is no clear winner in the debate between glass and plastic recycling.
Recycling plastic is a great way to reduce our environmental impact and conserve resources. It's important to understand the different types of recyclable plastics and how they can be recycled responsibly. PET, HDPE, PP, LDPE, PVC, PS and other plastics can all be recycled if they are properly prepared for recycling. Fragile plastics like plastic bags and films cannot be recycled at home but can be dropped off at most supermarkets for recycling.
Innovations in technology are helping to create better recycling systems that can separate PP from HDPE and combine recycled PET with other materials to produce a more durable material than the original plastic. Although virgin polypropylene is cheaper to produce than its recycled version, there are still many benefits to recycling plastic responsibly. Recycling plastic helps reduce our environmental impact by conserving resources and reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or oceans. It also helps create jobs in the recycling industry and supports businesses that use recycled materials in their products.
When it comes to choosing between glass and plastic recycling, there is no clear winner. Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to recycling. Glass is more durable than plastic but is heavier and more expensive to transport. Plastic is lightweight and easier to transport but has a lower recycling rate than glass.
Ultimately, it's up to each individual or business to decide which material is best for their needs.