Today the world makes and consumes about 600 billion pounds of plastic yearly, and the market is still growing about 5% a year. And while plastic is certainly a useful and versatile material, it’s important to recycle plastic bottles and other materials properly whenever possible. Here are just a few of the most common plastic recycling mistakes to avoid.
Plastic grocery bags are incredibly common, but unfortunately, they aren’t accepted at most local recycling facilities. Plastic bag markets have strict guidelines and require that plastic bags be completely dry, empty, and clean before being put in to a recycling bin. The thing is, they often lose these qualities when being mixed in with other recyclables like commercial plastic jugs, plastic packaging, and other plastic bottle containers. Therefore, they’re often not accepted. To resolve this, there are two logical options. You can either stop using plastic bags and purchase reusable bags instead, or keep plastic bags separate from other recyclables and return them to a local grocery store that accepts them.
It’s absolutely true that more and more commercial plastic jugs and other materials are now recyclable, it’s still important to check the number on the bottom and compare it to your local recycling program’s rules. That being said, many plastic caps are still unable to be recycled and as a result, they can contaminate otherwise acceptable contents. They also can trap the liquids inside the plastics, which can also cause contamination. Make sure to separate the caps to best dispose of them.
It may seem logical to remove labels from plastic containers before recycling, but in the vast majority of cases, this is unnecessary and may even cause a bottle recycling machine to reject an otherwise perfectly recyclable bottle or can. There’s ultimately no need for removing labels, so skip this step altogether.
According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), 5,764 million pounds of PET bottles and jars were available for recycling in 2013. About 85% of those bottles are used for food and beverages, or 4,899 million pounds. Many people are unaware of this fact, but each and every item recycled needs to be thoroughly cleaned of any perishable food item. Food can be a major contaminant and cause a whole batch of recyclables to become unusable.
Ultimately, knowing the best practices when it comes to plastics recycling can help you do your part to preserve the environment. For more information about how to properly recycle commercial plastic jugs or other plastics containers, contact Indiana Bottle Company.