It is quite confusing to categorize the various types of plastics that are used for packaging. Discarding plastic bottle by throwing it into the recycle bin is understandable, but it is not the same with plastic bags. There could be a case of contamination between polymer types caused by plastic films with multiple layers. There are special recycling procedures for certain types of plastics that are thrown away. Post-consumer plastics have a different chemical nature than post-industrial plastic wastes. We are consumers and being a consumer, we are aware of the fact that once the plastic wrap gets dirty, we tend to throw it away, and that increases the workload for the recycling facility.
Can we truly get rid of plastic materials?
Garbage containing plastic can cause serious land pollution, especially at landfills, where all the trash sits and decomposes due to the external environmental factors. Plastics in such trash tend to stay intact and are hard to biodegrade. If you cannot throw plastic materials in landfills, then where do they go? UK waste management involves a few steps to effectively take care of plastic materials once they have been discarded.
How do we manage the trash that has plastic supplies?
Once the garbage containing plastic material is thrown, it is collected from all the residential as well as commercial areas. The garbage is then sorted into different categories with respect to the chemical and structural nature of different materials. Huge materials are often shredded so that they can be chemically treated later.
To sort out the different types of plastics, weight is used as a factor. Hard plastics sink while light plastics float and then both types are separated to be chemically treated. The impurities and residues are removed by washing the plastic materials so that there are no complications during the recycling process. The single sheets of plastics can now be molded into final products that can be used in the market.
How do we save the environment and keep using plastic in our daily lives?
Non-renewable petrochemicals are used to make plastics and it is the best option to recycle and reuse them. It is needless to spend a lot of energy and money on manufacturing plastic from scratch. Instead of throwing plastic bags away and using chemicals to dissolve them, it is a much safer option to have the plastic sheets recycled to be used for another purpose.
It is almost impossible to try an alternative for food packaging as it is a common practice to use plastic for storing food. In this day and age, where eco-friendly products are being promoted, it is of the utmost importance that we understand the need of plastic in our daily lives. We should find safer options to dispose of plastic instead of avoiding the use of it altogether.
The safer option:
There are options for using plastic that are not that harmful to the environment and they can biodegrade easily. You can try to use these types of plastic bags that are being promoted in shopping malls as well. You can save the environment as well as money by recycling the plastic bags that you discard almost regularly. So, it is best to seek a safer option then negating the use of plastic altogether.