Plastic Recycling: A Step Forward to a Pollution Free World
Plastics are lightweight, less expensive, and long-lasting materials, which can promptly be shaped into a variety of items and can be used in a wide range of applications. As society has consistently increased the use of plastics, waste management of plastics has become a major concern across the world. The process of decaying of plastics takes years, furthermore it diminishes the soil quality and causes land, water and air pollution. So, to reduce the adverse effect of plastic on the environment, plastic recycling is one of the most important steps that is taken by the plastics industry today. Due to some mixed quality of plastics, the plastic recycling industry is facing a number of challenges in maintaining the quality of recovered and recycled plastic materials.
In the 21st century, the use of plastic has been tremendously increasing and plastic is becoming a ubiquitous part on a daily basis. Plastics are everywhere, starting from children’s toys to food packaging, from planting pots to water bottles. As a result, the creation of plastics has expanded especially in the course of the last 60 years. According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than 380 metric tons of plastics is manufactured annually. Moreover, the recycling of plastics is still quite less as compared to the production rate.
Usually, a major portion of plastics produced is to make items for packaging purposes or other products like bottles, containers, trays, etc. The rate of usage and disposal of these products generate various environmental problems by causing massive landfills and ocean disposal. It is estimated that a huge portion of world’s oil and gas production is used as a feedstock for plastics. In addition, more energy is required for the manufacturing of plastics. To diminish the dreadful impact of plastics, recycling is one of the major actions. Plastic recycling reduces oil usage, carbon dioxide emissions, and also the quantities of disposal.
What is Plastic Recycling?
Plastic recycling is a method of extracting waste and reprocessing the plastic materials into useful and valuable items. The objective of reusing plastic is to diminish plastic contamination while squeezing virgin materials to create new quality plastic items. This methodology is used to conserve resources and restrict the disposal of plastics on land or in some unintended destinations like seas.
Why is Plastic Recycling Important?
With increasing population, waste management is extremely important. Plastic recycling is a process to deal with existing plastic waste, and it plays a major role to balance the economy with zero-waste management systems. The aim of plastic recycling is reducing waste generation and increasing sustainability. Currently, waste generation and disposal of plastics in landfills and oceans are causing social, environmental, and economic consequences. Plastic recycling does not only reduce these impacts but further helps in improving the atmosphere for fisheries, aquaculture, recreational activities and hence also leads to global wellbeing. In addition, with plastic recycling following things can be done:
- Conservation of non-renewable sources of energy
- Reduction in energy consumption as compared to the energy required for the production of new plastic
- Reduction of solid waste causing landfill
- Reduction in emission of gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
Challenges in Plastic Recycling
Today, many businesses as well as consumers are looking to recycle more materials. However, they lack proper knowledge on how to do it effectively. This leads to the creation of more contamination. Some people mix non-recyclable plastics and recyclable plastics, and some people try to process the recycling by soiling the plastics with adhesives or chemicals. These attempts can lead to plastics being sent to landfill rather than being recycled.
Furthermore, the complication in plastic recycling stems from the material itself. For instance, mostly water bottles are made up of common plastics (PETE) and these can be easily recycled. However, there are some products that use a mix of plastics which can cause serious problems in the present recycling process like low quality of recycled plastics, advanced equipped machineries to segregate plastics, etc.
Emerging Plastic Recycling Market
Increasing awareness to check the pollution caused by plastic disposal and alarming environmental dangers are the major components driving the growth of the plastic recycling market.
The market is seeing development because of an increasing inclination for reused plastics over virgin plastics due to the serious contamination caused by the removal of utilized plastics in seas and the shortage of landfill regions in many nations. Factors like expanding utilization of reused plastics in numerous new applications in the packaging, automotive, and the electrical and gadgets industry and numerous suitable initiatives advancing the use of recycled plastics offer profitable opportunities for the growth of the recycled plastics market. This also causes an increase in the cost of recycled plastics. Rigorous contest with virgin plastics in terms of performance is a key factor restraining the development of the market. Plastics market in the North America region is expected to be the fastest-growing market in the near future.
To make our environment clean and safe, we should restrict the use of plastics on daily basis. Furthermore, we should also give some effort on recycling plastics at our home like, reusing plastics in bottle gardening, making bird feeders, garden water sprinklers and many more useful things. In this way, we can restrain our environment from adverse effects caused by open disposal of plastics.
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