While many people know that plastic bags are bad for the environment, they may not know how to properly dispose of them. Separating and recycling thin plastics has been the biggest contributor to reducing our household trash and we’d like to share with you how many items fall under these categories and what you can do to make sure none of them reach our landfills.
Why it shouldn’t go in the landfill
Plastic film is everywhere. From Ziploc bags, the interior of breakfast cereal boxes, produce bags, the outside of toilet paper rolls, dry cleaning bags, bubble wrap to air pockets; the list goes on and on. However, it does not belong in the landfill where plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose, leaking pollutants into our soil and water. Not only is this threatening to our health and safety but also to marine life.
Both domestic animals and all types of marine life are exposed to plastic materials in their environment. More often than we would like, we find marine life plastic bag particles in their digestive system, slowly killing them and destroying the ecosystem simultaneously.
Plastic is either made from petroleum or natural gas. And, because it embodies energy from fossil fuels, leaving it in landfills is both environmentally hazardous and a waste of a valuable resource that can be repurposed to produce fuel, heat, or electricity. Plastic is very versatile and can be put to good use if we choose to keep it away from landfills.
One thing that makes plastic film tricky is that it does not belong in your regular recycling bin. The reason is that plastic film causes problems with the sorting machines. It creates a lot of extra work for individuals who need to sort out the plastic film from regular plastic.
What happens when it gets recycled
If plastic bags are recycled correctly they can be turned into all kinds of incredible products including everything from new bottles to playground equipment. Plastics that can be recycled are first sorted, shredded, and rid of any impurities like paper. These shreds are then melted and formed into pellets, which can be made into other products.
Because of plastic’s versatility, it can be utilized in multiple ways. For instance, by converting plastic into liquid fuel, you can produce energy from it. Plastic can also be converted to crude oil through a high heat process called pyrolysis, which does not require oxygen.
We often learn about new types of plastic film that can be recycled. Sign up to our list to hear about this stubborn category and how we can make sure more of it gets recycled.