It sounds like something out of a bad comedy but the sad truth is this is for real. Plastic bottle island could be our home one day, and judging by how things are going, it won’t be very long until we are there.
Every year the number of plastic items that end up in the ocean and onto our beaches increases by the billions. It is estimated that three percent of global annual plastic waste enters the ocean annually. And did you know there is currently an island of plastic floating in the ocean that is THE SIZE OF TEXAS?
In 2010, we were at approximately 8 million tons of plastic being dumped into the water and killing the life inside. This number just keeps going up as more is produced and not enough reused or recycled. So what do we do? The best thing is to continue to educate yourself on what can be recycled, what can be reused, and what companies you can support that are making cleaner waves.
Which Plastics Are Recyclable?
Plastic’s recyclability depends on the structure of polymers within the item itself. Some polymers will not break down under mechanical or thermal stress, therefore making them non-recyclable.
Plastics that are recyclable:
- Plastic bottles.
- Containers for milk, cleaning agents, shampoo, and bleach.
Plastics that are not or often not recyclable:
- Plastic piping, vinyl flooring, cable insulation, automobile parts (often not due to chemical properties).
- Bottle lids, food tubs, housewares (often not, check local recycling).
- Plastic bags & food wrapping.
- Food takeaway containers, plastic cutlery, egg trays.
- Water cooler bottles, baby cups, fiberglass.
If you use a lot of the items underneath the non-recyclable section, try to find glass or reusable replacements for those items. Otherwise, they will be chucked in the landfill or contaminate other recyclable items, and will only pollute our earth further.
Alternatively, you can find ways to reuse some of these nonrecyclable materials in other ways. There are a lot of creative options for reusing plastic at home and companies are starting to crop up to assist with this critical area as well.
Plastic Bottles Take Forever to Break Down
For those of you who are recycling your plastic bottles, thank you. But please do consider reusable water cups instead. The more we can reduce the use the better. One plastic bottle takes 450 YEARS to decompose. Think about how many of the non-recycled plastic bottles that means are just sitting in our soil and bodies of water.
Studies show that macroplastics float around for decades and end up in offshore regions years later. Even if we stopped ocean plastic waste this year, macroplastics would still exist in our surface waters for many decades to come.
What You Can Do
Keep educating yourself and reducing the amount of plastic you use. More importantly, plastic waste entering our waterways must be stopped. Individuals can contribute to this cause by supporting companies, like swaggr, who are committed to taking this waste and using it in a new and productive way.
To learn more about how you can lend a hand to those trying to remove plastic from our oceans, check out The Ocean Cleanup here. swaggr makes extremely comfortable socks, but our main goal is to reduce plastic waste and keep our planet from becoming plastic bottle island. Click here to learn more about us and what we do.