5 Things You Need To Know About Plastic & Recycling

by Robert Hing on Jul 23, 2023

5 Things You Need To Know About Plastic & Recycling
1. Not all plastics are recyclable

Plastic bags? Nope. Straws? Negative. What about coffee cups? Requires a special machine. Without it? Another no. Plastic forks, knives, and spoons generally can’t be recycled either. Low grade small plastics are difficult to separate at waste management facilities and generally can’t be recycled properly. 


2. Not all plastics are equal 

There are seven types of plastic that can be essentially differentiated by the temperature at which they are melted. Although plastics for the most part originate from crude oil, a PLA label would indicate a source consisting of either sugars in corn or other plant starches like cassava. Certain types of plastic, such as thermoset plastics, cannot be recycled. They’re typically used in car parts and electrical appliances. 

3. Clean plastic only! 

Any plastic with food residue on or in it cannot be recycled. Only clean plastics can be recycled. In order to be transformed into other goods, they need to be of a high enough standard to compete with other products on the market. The majority of dirty plastics will be simply discarded and lumped in with other garbage - Destined for either the landfill or incinerator. 

4. Recycling downgrades the quality of the plastic 

Every time plastic is recycled, its polymer chain chain grows shorter and the quality significantly decreases. Expect to only recycle plastics a maximum of 2-3 times before the quality reaches such a point that it cannot be used anymore. Furthermore, to assist with the diminishing quality of the recycled plastic, virgin materials are often added into the mix. Consider labels marking ‘recycled materials’ as actually a mix of new and old plastics rather than a rebirth of that plastic water bottle you threw away last year. 


5. How to know if your plastic can be recycled or not?

Flip the product over and look at the base. If you see a #7 in the centre of a three arrowed triangle then you have no way of knowing whether it can be recycled properly. It’ll probably end up in the landfill either way. 

Given the prominence of plastic in our everyday lives and the lengthy time required for the product to be completely broken down - Think anywhere from between 400–1000 years, with some estimates suggesting even longer - It’s important to understand how recycling functions. It’s not the perfect solution. Recycling, at the end of day, is an initiative started by the very companies that produce this material. 

Please don’t contribute to the planet’s plastic issues. Get a water bottle you can refill from filtered water sources. Check out our range of Easy Clean Bottles: Our unique removable base allows easy and effortless cleaning, making it truly sustainable and perfect for when you are on the go. Easy to reuse, easy to clean, easy to be sustainable.

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