What to do with all that plastic
So now that you’ve sworn off drinking bottled water due to the health and environmental risks and you’ve purchased one of our sexy FLOW bottles, you may be wondering what to do with the plastic bottles lying around your house, your office, in your car and under your sink?
8 Good Reasons to recycle your plastic water bottles
1. Plastic bottles are valuable and create income opportunities on the collection side. If one person collects 200 bottles for 240 days of the year, it amounts to 1,600 kgs per year. This means that the 23 000 tons of post consumer PET collected in 2008 translates into the creation of an estimated 14 000 income opportunities for collectors. The collectors then sell to the recyclers of whom there are approximately 1675. Direct jobs in the PET recycling industry are estimated around 350 with capital investment to date of R130 million. Increasing plastic bottle recycling leads to job creation in the waste management, product development, manufacturing and marketing sectors.
2. Increasing plastic bottle recycling leads to job creation in the waste management, product development, manufacturing and marketing sectors.
3. Recycling reduces landfill requirements, thus increasing the life of landfill sites and cutting disposal costs. Landfill costs are set to rapidly increase over coming years.
4. Recycling demand for plastic bottles outstripped supply for many years and South African recyclers have the capacity for an increased number of bottles for reprocessing.
5. Approximately 12% of household waste is packaging waste. Estimates are that some 3% of this, by weight, is plastic bottles (approx 70,000 tons/year in SA). They are easy for the public to identify and remove from the residual waste stream.
6. Plastic bottles are widely used, abundant and very visual. There is the potential to remove a significant amount of volume from the waste stream.
7. Local authorities will be obliged to increase recovery, recycling and composting of household waste to reach mandatory Government targets.
8. Recycling 1 ton of plastic bottles saves 1.5 ton of carbon. Recycling plastic bottles decreases the need for raw materials and save energy.
Discarded PET bottles are collected, baled and delivered to the PET Recycling Plant, where they are colour sorted, washed, granulated, re-washed, extruded and cut into recycled PET (rPET) pellets.
More and more manufactures are coming up with new ways to use post-consumer PET plastic. From park benches to roof insulation, there are recycled plastics all around us.
Some of the new products made from rPET:
- fibre for polyester carpet
- fibrefill for sleeping bags and winter coats
- industrial strapping, sheet and film
- automotive parts, such as luggage racks, headliners, fuse boxes, bumpers, grilles and door panels
- geotextiles (road stabilisation)
- ceiling insulation (have a look at Isotherm’s website for example)
- composite timber products
- new PET containers for both food and non-food products
- fabric for T-shirts, long underwear, athletic shoes, luggage, upholstery and sweaters (Nike’s football World Cup 2010 shirts are made from recycled plastic bottles! Read more about it here)
- (Image from the Petco Blog)
- There are many creative products made from recycled plastic bottles. For example:
- E’yako Green – Eco friendly coporate gifts and clothing
- Babazeka – Online Shop
- The Western Cape’s 2009 RECYCLED PRODUCTS CATALOGUE
But perhaps the best use of recycled PET to date, is the Plastiki!
The adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild and a handpicked crew of leading scientists, adventurers and creatives have set sail over 10,000 nautical miles across the Pacific from San Francisco to Sydney on a 60-foot catamaran made from 12,000 post consumer plastic water and soda bottles and self-reinforced PET.
Their 3 month mission is to witness some of the most devastating waste accumulation on our planet, including the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch and to inspire, educate and activate individuals, communities and business’s to start moving towards a smarter more sustainable “Planet 2.0” way of living.
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To follow their journey, click here.
For more information on the Garbage Patch, click here.
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Please click here for a list of PET recyclers.
Click here for drop off points for you Plastic.