How The Environment Can Become Better Through Plastic Recycling

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Abstract 1

Introduction.. 1

Recycling. 1

The Recycling process. 3

Benefits of Plastic Bottle Recycling. 6

Conclusion.. 6


This paper seeks to give an analysis on the process of recycling plastic. Research has found out that recycling of plastic is better than making new plastic. Also, the environmental impact is positive. The environment should be the most vital consideration when recycling plastics. Consumers are fond of using plastic bottles and bags, which are often recycled. Measures should exist, to ensure that plastic is disposed of well. A lot needs to be done to ensure that the environment is taken care of well. Recycling and waste management are key aspects, which should be known (Lajeunesse, 2004).


A polymer is the group where plastic originates from. Molecules, which are large in nature, are the ones that make up plastics. In other cases, plastic are formed when monomers, which are small molecules, are joined. Petroleum is also another source of plastic and undergoes polymerization to form the latter (Gerngross & Slater, 2000). Plastic obtained its name because it can take any form. It can exist as either soft or hard. Most materials, such as glass and metal, have replaced plastic as it is easily recycled.

This paper will analyze the importance or recycling plastics and its benefit to the environment.


Polyethylene terephthalate often known as PET is the most common packaging in the United States. In the year 1970, it was introduced into the market in form of a bottle. People accepted it because of its many advantages, such as being shatter proof, economical, as well as light weight. Today, plastic is still as popular as before and are used for a variety of reasons. These are used for storage of mouth wash, salad dressing, liquor, spring water, among others (Gerngross & Slater, 2000). The symbol used to present the recycling of plastic bottles is ‘chasing arrows’. This was introduced in the year 1987 as a resin code for identification. It was established by the ‘Society of the Plastics Industry. # 1 is the resin code of identification used by the SPI. A lot of responsibility towards the environment has been demonstrated by the industry of plastic packaging (Gerngross & Slater, 2000). The latter has been taking place in the form of recycling. In the year 1976, St. Jude Polymers became the first company to engage in activities related to recycling of PET bottles. The recycled bottles were made into brittles for paint brushes and plastic bottles (Brown, 2003).

Most people associate recycling with being beneficial and friendly to the environment. There is no energy use and environmental impacts, which occur during the process of recycling. The most common examples of plastics, which are used by consumers, are plastic bottles and plastic bags. The argument, which exists, concerning recycling is that wildlife is threatened by existing plastic found in stream litter (Patel, 2003). Also, there is extreme visibility of plastic bags in most countries.

It is estimated that the number of plastic, which exists in the world, are over 50. Usually sorting of plastic occurs manually .This is because it is expensive to carry it out automatically.  After sorting has occurred, two major processes have to be conducted. First, chemical recycling occurs and this means that the plastic is made to exist in its chemical form .Secondly, it is made to exist in another form after being melted. According to research, when plastic recycling occurs, carrier bag making becomes easy (Brown, 2003).  In turn, the energy used is less by two thirds when compared to plastic, which has not been recycled.  Also, the water used is low and pollution levels low as well. This means that recycling is better than making plastic, which is new. In almost all countries, bags used for grocery shopping are made of plastic. The reason is because they are extremely cheap, strong and convenient. Many owners of businesses and consumers use the plastic bags frequently.  Consumers of plastic bags are not aware of what is involved when it comes to manufacturing issues (American Plastics Council, 2000).

The Recycling process

Many environmental problems are caused by plastics. Most landfills are packed with plastics and they often take spaces, which are extremely big. Plastics are not dangerous in an intrinsic manner because fossil fuel is their main constituent. This means that plastic is a resource, which is renewable. It is vital that recycling of plastics occurs. There are five main stages, which have to occur, when plastic is being recycled. The first stage involves collection of plastic and this can take place anywhere (American Plastics Council, 2000). Examples include; industries, which use plastic, during manufacture, recycle bins and even ones which are collected at the road side. The next stage involves sorting the different plastics manually. Impurities such as stones and nails are removed. Afterwards, the plastic is placed in three different sections. These include; other, HDPE and PET. Then third stage involves washing the plastic, which ensures that the plastic remains in its original form. During this stage, remnants, dirt and paper labels are removed. The final stage is known as pelleting whereby, melting of plastic occurs. This is meant to ensure that the plastic can be reused while in the form of pellets, which are small (American Plastics Council, 2000).

During the process of recycling, environmental damage is reduced. The latter does not occur because recycling of plastic makes use of resources, which are nonrenewable, as well engaging in excessive landfilling. Safety measures are used during this process and water is conserved. The usage of water is minimized, thus the reason why recycling of plastics should be encouraged. New plastic products production is adverse as compared to recycling (Stein, 2002).

PET recycling plastic as well as Industry Standards and Best Practices

There are many codes, which are used during PET recycling of plastics. This is normally in accordance to Local level, state and federal regulations. The latter varies in accordance to operations, which exists at the PET facility.  Jurisdiction exists in matter relating to PET matters. Certifications and permits are required when operating in facilities meant for recycling (American Plastics Council, 2000). Often tests of submission are required and this is in accordance with the agencies for regulation. This means that the operator has a financial obligation, which should be met. The post of a compliance officer has been established to deal with such matters. A criminal penalty is enforced upon facilities, which do not follow the set regulations (Karliner, 1997).

Legislation is being passed in many countries to control the use of plastics. For example in Ireland, a consumption task based on plastic bags was introduced in the year 2002.  In turn, consumption of plastic has reduced by around 90%.  Consumers who choose to use plastic bags to carry out their shopping will pay 0.15$ more. As a r.............

Type: Essay || Words: 2357 Rating || Excellent

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