In Britain, we can be extremely wasteful with plastic, throwing away a whopping eight billion bottles every year! Most of these end up in our landfill sites, taking up space, while others litter our streets, ruin our landscapes and fill up our oceans.
One very good reason to recycle plastic is because there is just so much of it. Plastic goes into nearly everything we use daily but, once discarded, it can take centuries to break down. So, why is recycling plastic so important and what effect does recycling our plastic waste have on the environment?
How does plastic bottle recycling help the environment?
By recycling our plastic or reusing it and turning it into new goods, we are helping the environment and allowing for new economic opportunities to grow. Recycling our plastic has an extremely positive effect on the environment, reducing the number of bottles being thrown into landfill sites and reusing plastic to make new products.
Plastic is an extremely popular and useful material but we use an awful lot of it in our daily lives. By optimising the lifespan of plastic, by reusing and recycling, we can reduce our need to create a new plastic.
Recycling Plastics Saves Landfill Space
By recycling our plastic, we are keeping it out of landfills and instead allowing it to be reused in the manufacturing of new products. Recycling just one tonne of plastic can save up to 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
In landfills, plastic accumulate, creating a volume of refuse that never seems to go away. And let’s face it, most of our plastic ends up directly in the environment, breaking down into tiny pieces, polluting our soil and water, and contributing to the ocean’s Great Garbage Patches. This not only looks terrible but it can be extremely hazardous to wildlife. Therefore, by recycling our plastics we are keeping it out of the environment and landfills.
Helps protect against global climate change
Plastic bottles that go into landfills or incinerators are very damaging to the environment, releasing their petroleum and natural gases into the environment, contributing to higher levels of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases, as you may remember from your science lessons at school, trap the sun’s heat in the atmosphere. Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels for energy and plastic production, substantially increase greenhouse gas levels. All of this extra heat that is trapped in our environment causes drastic changes in our climate patterns, as well as temperature fluctuations.
Recycling plastic bottles drastically reduces the amount of petroleum and natural gas that is released into the environment. In fact, manufacturing new plastic products from recycled material requires less energy than refining new plastic resins from raw material. The production of greenhouse gases from recycling plastic bottles is considerably less than the emissions released from processing virgin resources.
Did You Know?
- 94% of all UK local authorities now offer collection facilities for plastic bottles either through your household recycling collection or at recycling centres.
- Currently, 49% of councils collect other rigid plastic packaging such as pots, tubs and trays in household recycling collections.
Like many things, there is still plenty of room for improvement – especially regarding the recycling of plastic. However, in Britain, there are currently huge investments being made into plastic recycling technology to help the domestic recycling facilities cope with the variety of plastics we use. It won’t be long before we operate a more efficient recycling system for all types of plastic packaging. If you would like to know more about recycling and what you can and cannot recycle, check out our page on recycling. Help us on our way by doing your bit and recycling the plastic you use.