For decades, most plastic waste has been difficult or impossible to recycle. This has led to a glut of plastic waste, including plastic in our oceans.
The good news is that technological advances and innovation from surprising places are bringing the promise of new uses and recycling of these "problem" plastics.
Good Plastic, Bad Plastic - The Woes of Plastic Recycling
The sad truth about plastics is that they are not all easily recyclable.
According to an article at EndPlasticWaste.org,
"Most people believe that plastics recycling is severely restricted: that only a few types can be recycled at all.
But all polymers are, technologically, 100% recyclable. Some of them have the perfect cradle-to-cradle lifecycle: they can be used again and again to produce the same goods. Some plastics can be reused just as they are by shredding an object into flakes, melting it, and reusing.
Such recycled plastics may have lower mechanical properties compared to virgin plastics, because each time you melt and process a plastic, the polymeric chains degrade. But these properties can be recovered by mixing it to additives or virgin plastic."
While one might argue that "reuse" and "recycling" are technically different processes, the end result is the same: used plastic waste can be converted into new plastic, or plastic-based products.
In fact, some uses of hard-to-recycle plastics include plastic waste that is shredded and used as filler for asphalt, or be pyrolysed to produce fuel. Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of materials at elevated temperatures in an inert atmosphere
However, the reality is that as much as 91 percent of plastic doesn't actually get recycled.
This means that less than 10 percent of all waste plastics are being recycled. And much of this is not just because of the difficulty of recycling a particular type of plastic, like bags for example. Often it is because of market demand and a lack of cost-effective means of recycling.
A blog post at National Geographic points out the following hard truths,
"'Recycling' is determined by two really important things: the market and city government. If there’s a demand in the market, then recyclers and companies will pay for your post-consumer recyclables.
But without a market demand, those recyclables are almost useless; placing them in the recycling bin won’t make a difference if you can’t make money off of them. If the demand isn’t there, or the quality of the materials post-use is incurably dirty, they end up in landfill or incinerators."
The post goes on to not that a of plastic can only be recycled about two to three times before its quality decreases to the point where it can no longer be used.
And, each time plastic is recycled, additional virgin material is added to help “upgrade” its quality, so that the recycled product has a fighting chance in the market against new, durable and fresh goods.
Which means that a label that says “recycled material,” may not mean what you might think the word “recycled” actually means in that context.
Reuse of Waste Plastic - The New Promise of Plastic Recycling
The good news is that much of this plastic no longer need be relegated to landfills, incinerators, or being shipped to third world countries where it piles up and creates environmental crises in those places.
For example, one woman in Kenya recently developed a process for converting waste plastics into bricks that can be used for construction. Her end-products are 35 percent cheaper than standard bricks, and up to seven-times stronger.
And a Yale University publication recently reported,
"First appearing in India two decades ago, plastic roads are being tested and built in more and more countries as the world’s plastic pollution problem becomes more acutely felt. India has installed over 60,000 miles of these roads. The technology, meanwhile, is gaining ground in Britain, Europe, and Asia. Several countries — South Africa, Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States, among them — have built their first plastic roads only recently."
And a company in Redwood City, California is producing compostable plastic material from a specialized bacteria and methane.
In addition, dozens of other innovations are cropping up around the globe, all holding the promise of zero plastic waste in the near future.
When Your Plastic Waste and Debris Gets to be Too Much
There is a better way to manage your plastic waste disposal than simply tossing things into the recycling bin at home or at work. In fact, much of what you toss in either can't or won't be recycled. So, while your intentions are good, the infrastructure and the economic drivers do not lend themselves to any real amount of recycling when it comes to plastics.
On the other hand, Junk King has the processes and industry relationships to ensure that as much of your junk and waste as possible is recycled, reused, or repurposed.
Being green has always been a central tenant of the Junk King mission and we continue to be green today. Since the company was founded back in 2005, we have been wholly committed to recycling up to 60 percent or more of everything we pick up from every junk removal job.
And being environmentally conscious and eco-friendly is more than a public relations gesture at Junk King - it's simply what we do.
Every day. With every job.
Recycling Bulk Plastics and Waste with Junk Removal from Junk King
We can provide you with a truly simple and efficient option for all your recycling needs.
Junk King provides professional junk hauling services to remove any types of junk including anything made with glass, metal, paper, and plastic - and we'll even remove your old furniture, yard waste, and excess garbage, as well.
We also have the equipment and teams to remove large refrigerators and other appliances - even down stairways, up basement steps, or out through a garage.
Whatever type of junk you have, we will always try to recycle everything and anything you have. We provide an eco-friendly junk removal service to help you get rid of any unwanted junk, large trash items, or any old appliances.
So, got junk? Junk King can help you get it out of the way!
Our professional and insured junk removal team will show up at your home or office, and we'll call 15 to 30 minutes before we arrive. Once there, we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck.
You point and we haul your unwanted items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Make an appointment with us by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).