Pushing for a Full Recyclable Plastics Product

Container and packaging

Plastics have come a long way in terms of usefulness and recyclability. When they were first designed and manufactured, they were not very recyclable. However, over the years and with a greater push toward environmental health, their design has evolved and advanced into something that can be easily recycled. This does not mean that there is not still room for improvement. The U.S. plastics industry employs approximately one million workers and contributes $375 billion to the economy. With this kind of an impact, further improvements to environmental health can be very impactful.

Current recyclability rate
Plastic cylinder bottles and other types of plastics are actually highly recyclable. In fact, 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 were used for food and beverages, or 4,899 million pounds. With plastic cylinder bottles heavily used across all industries, the better design by the bottle companies is extremely valuable.

An even stronger push toward recyclability
Even when plastic cylinder bottles are designed to be recyclable, it still requires that the consumer bring those commercial jars in for recycling. Fortunately, many countries have taken an even stronger push toward recyclability. In addition to a better designed blow mold design, individual states have used bottle deposits to further encourage recycling by the consumer. Consumers pay a couple of cents extra per plastic cylinder bottles they purchase and they receive that money back after the bottle has been brought back for recycling. This process has proved to significantly increase recycling rates by the consumer and has had a huge impact on the number of plastics that are recycled.

Increased bottle usefulness
A higher rate of recyclability does not mean that the product becomes less useful. In fact, plastics have become even more useful, for both the manufacturer and the consumer. For example, just 2 pounds of plastic can deliver 1,300 ounces, roughly 10 gallons, of a beverage such as juice, soda, or water. You would need 3 pounds of aluminum to bring home the same amount of product, 8 pounds of steel, and over 40 pounds of glass. This extreme usefulness of plastics has also contributed to its popularity and common use among business manufacturers.

The design of custom made bottles
The traditional plastics container may not fit for all business industries. However, with custom made bottles and colored bottles, the majority of manufacturing industries can move toward plastics. Additionally, when more businesses move toward the usage of plastics, they become easier to come by. When more businesses rely on plastics, the efforts of recyclability are increased. Eventually, the goal is to shift towards a completely recyclable plastics product that does not end up in any landfill. This only requires some special customizations and specifically designed bottles to fit all types of products.

How you can help
How can a consumer help to expand these plastic recyclability efforts? The best solution is to continue purchasing plastics from those companies with high environmental care. Look at their recycling practices. How much of their plastic products come from recycled material? What efforts do they take in promoting recycling from their consumers? How they are further reducing power plant usage to preserve the environment? Purchasing from these companies will help the world move toward a more environmentally responsible plastic.

There is no question that we all have to do what is necessary to preserve the health of the planet. Plastics are one of the most commonly used products in the manufacturing industry. While they have come a long way in terms of environmental health, there is still room for improvement. As more and more consumers shift toward plastics use, the demand for better plastics will become even more important.

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