Stop Using Plastic Immediately: Plastic Waste Recycling Is Less Effective

I’m one of those people who can’t get out of plastic. And plastic waste recycling becomes so less effective due to less...

· 4 min read >

I’m one of those people who can’t get out of plastic. And plastic waste recycling becomes so less effective due to less of our self-awareness.

We are just starting to realize the dangers of plastic waste that can reach the sea and even poison marine animals such as turtles.

Now I also realize the danger of plastic waste. All plastic materials can be a problem for our environment.

In addition, this plastic waste will return to us all without us knowing it and is dangerous to our health.

Go Green Company

Very glad there are several large companies like Apple, Adidas, Starbuck, and Unilever that know about this.

Starbuck going green

They are starting to realize the environmental impact of their products. More companies like this are implementing go-green and saving the earth.

Let’s have a look around. For example in Indonesia, Alfamart no longer uses plastic as a grocery bag. A&W no longer uses plastic straws.

Some packaged foods already use a straw made of thick paper which decomposes easily if exposed to water for a long time. We hope more companies are taking the same steps.

What is plastic?

Made from nature

Plastics come from materials found in nature, such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, minerals, and plants. So actually, plastics were first made naturally.

The source of plastic. Image credit: drinkpathwater

Did you know that rubber from rubber trees is actually plastic? Basically, everything we make comes from nature.

Flammable and difficult to decompose

Also because they are made from petroleum (oil drilling), plastic compounds are generally flammable, so be careful.

Plastic is also difficult to decompose, because of the strong polymer bonds and plastic-based materials that cannot be digested by decomposing living things.

This creates problems for the environment if there is a buildup of garbage or plastic waste.

Kind of Plastic

Some plastics recyclable

Plastic is different from the others. Some of them are reusable, others produce hazardous materials after a few uses.

Some are easy to recycle, others require more sophisticated and complicated handling in the recycling process.

Food in styrofoam plastic #Code 6 (PS)

Be careful

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For example, we often store food and drinks in plastic containers. However, you need to be careful when choosing a plastic container.

Because not all plastic containers are safe to use. Some can even contaminate food with chemicals in plastics.

Plastic Recycle Number. Image credit: bbc

Plastics have a recycling number to identify the purpose and rate of recycling. This information will help us sort plastic materials more effectively for recycling.

Plastic Recycle Code

Each plastic has its own use and recycling code. This number can usually be found on the bottom of the plastic product.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE or Polyester) #Code: 1

PET is recyclable, widely used for food and beverage packaging purposes because of its strong ability to prevent oxygen from entering and damaging the products inside. It also helps keep carbon dioxide in carbonated drinks from escaping.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) #Code: 2

HDPE is recyclable, and more stable than PET. It is a safer option for food and drinks use.

Some examples of uses for HDPE are milk jugs, juice containers, grocery bags, trash bags, motor oil containers, shampoo bottles, etc.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) #Code: 3

PVC is the most dangerous plastic. Its use can dissolve various toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, lead, dioxins, mercury, and cadmium.

Some of the chemicals mentioned can cause cancer; can also cause allergy symptoms in children and interfere with the human hormonal system. PVS is also rarely accepted by recycling programs.

PVC often use in some tote bags, plumbing pipes, grocery bags, tile, cling films, shoes, gutters, window frames, ducts, sewage pipes, etc. This is why PVC is better avoided at all costs, because of its dangers.

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) #Code: 4

Daily shopping bags made of this kind of plastic. LDPE is mostly for bags (grocery, dry cleaning, bread, frozen food bags, newspapers, garbage).

LDPE also used as plastic wraps; coatings for paper milk cartons, and hot & cold beverage cups; some squeezable bottles (honey, mustard), food storage containers, container lids. Also used for wire and cable covering.

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LDPE also a safer plastic option for food and drink use. Unfortunately, recycling this type of plastic is quite difficult.

Polypropylene (PP) #Code: 5

All plastic code can usually be seen underneath a bottle or other plastic object

PP isn’t quite recyclable and could also cause asthma and hormone disruption in humans. Because it’s resistant to heat, PP mostly often use as Tupperware.

The others use PP as plastic diapers, kitchenware, margarine tubs, yogurt containers, prescription bottles, stadium cups, bottle caps, take-out containers, disposable cups, and plates.

Polystyrene (PS) #Code: 6

Styrofoam is one of this kind of plastic. When exposed to hot and oily food, PS could leach styrene that is a brain and nervous system toxicant.

It could also affect genes, lungs, liver, and immune system. On top of all of those risks, PS has a low recycling rate.

Other #Code: 7

This kind of plastics other than those identified by code number 1-6 and also plastics that may be layered or mixed with other types of plastics, such as bioplastics.

Plastic CDs and DVDs, baby bottles, large water bottles with multiple-gallon capacity, medical storage containers, eyeglasses, exterior lighting fixtures also use this kind of plastic.

Plastic Safe Code Symbol

As we know there are 7 kinds of plastics. Not all of them are safe for everyday use, especially for food or drink bottles.

Before we use some plastic items, let’s analyze or look at the symbols that are actually at the bottom of bottles, Tupperware, or other plastic objects.

Choose green code 2, 4, 5 for food reusable. Image credit: nuspinkids

So don’t use plastic code 3 or 7, just use 2, 4, 5, or 1. Also choose BPA-free, usually transparent. If there is any color, use it only once.

Plastic Waste Recycling

The plastic recycling process itself is less effective because 91% of the recycling plastic is not easy and more of this waste becomes garbage.

Flows into the sea

This plastic waste flows into the sea and can pollute marine mammals or indirectly affect our health who eat polluted fish.

This turtle thinks that plastic is jellyfish

The plastics that end up in the oceans break down into small pieces and every year around 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds are killed by this pollution.

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They think this plastic is food

Many of the birds that died when they were examined for their stomachs had toothbrushes, plastic bottle caps, other small plastic fragments that they considered food.

This waste can also be very small and we cannot see it with the naked eye and can be dangerous if it enters the human body, this is very concerning because several cases of microplastics have been found in the human body.

New Recycled Product

Sample new product from plastic recycling

Manufacturers often leave the plastic in its natural, translucent state, which has milky white color, or sometimes they add colorful pigments in order to make bottles stand out from the competition.

While the recycled high-density polyethylene is being used in manufacturing milk bottles, it is best suited for non-food products only.

Less Effective

Although most of it has been recycled, plastic becomes more waste and pollution around it. So in other words recycling plastic is less effective if we don’t reduce our daily use of plastic.

The landfilled plastic waste that has accumulated is much more than just recycled.
Chart from www.epa.gov

As we can see in the graphic here, more plastic waste is in the landfill. Not much different from 2021, now it tends to increase.

So that the recycling of plastic waste is less effective because there is no awareness of the dangers of plastic waste from each of us.

Stop using plastic

Immediately stop using plastic by looking for alternatives products that are much more environmentally friendly (eco-friendly).

Recycling plastic waste is less effective if we ignore this problem. Sooner or later this problem will be too late to be resolved if we don’t start now to prevent this waste.

Start with ourselves and lets go-green

Let’s stop using plastic and save the earth, our greenhouse. Let’s go-green, of course, start with ourselves!

Don’t let the turtle think the plastic bag is its food 😀

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