“Plastics make it possible” is a phrase touted by the American Chemistry Council, yet plastics are often viewed as something to be either shunned or banned. So which is it? The answer is: both. While there are many important and even life-saving uses for plastics, the abundance of non-essential plastics is what we are working to reduce.
So what’s the big deal about plastics? Most plastics are produced from petrochemicals, which are a finite resource. Much of the plastics surrounding us, due to poor product planning or packaging, cannot be recycled, thus ending up in the landfill.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area approximately twice the size of Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is made mostly of plastics that have floated there from land and ships. Any plastics in the nature can be a great hazard to marine and mammal life.
In addition, it takes a long time for any plastics to decompose – a plastic water bottle, for example, takes about 450 years to decompose. Do you really want your disposable water bottle to be around that long? The answer is undoubtedly “No!”, so better recycle it! Here’s how:
- Water, soda and juice bottles (6 oz. or larger)
- Tubs, like yogurt and butter tubs (6 oz. or larger)
- Jugs, like milk and juice jugs
- Rigid plastic plant pots (4” or larger)
- Plastic buckets (5 gallon or less)
- Clamshell containers, the kind used for produce, bakery items, or “to-go” foods
- Blister packaging, the kind used around electronics or toys (that’s sometimes impossible to open!)
- Plastic drink cups
- Plastic bags (see below where you can, though)
- Bottle & tub lids
- Cups, plates, flatware
- Biodegradable plastics
- Just because a plastic item has the recycling logo on it doesn’t mean it’s recyclable.
- Adding non-recyclable items to your recycling bin makes it more costly for either you or the company or both to recycle. They may also damage the equipment used to sort recyclables.
- DO NOT recycle plastic containers with hazardous products or motor oil.
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT “OTHER” PLASTIC?
Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about blister packaging or clamshell containers, besides reuse them, or not buy or accept them in the first place. As for the plastic bags, there are some options. In addition to plastic grocery bags, drop-off recycling stations in most grocery stores will also accept these plastics:
- Ziploc® Bags (clean and dry)
- Newspaper bags
- Dry-cleaning bags
- Produce bags
- Bread bags
- Plastic cereal box liners
- Toilet paper, napkin, diaper and paper-towel wraps
- Case wraps (water bottles, snacks, etc.)
- Plastic shipping envelopes (remove labels)
- Tyvek (no glue, labels, other packaging)
- Furniture and electronic wraps
Please recycle only clean, dry plastic bags and film. Remove receipts or any other items from bags.
SARABELLA UPCYCLED offers a local upcycling option for (see their link below):
- Vinyl banners
- Newspaper bags
- Colorful, thicker plastic bags (the kind you get from a downtown or mall shop)