Plastic Recycling, Light-Weighting and Reducing MSW for a Sustainable Earth
October 13, 2015
When it comes to recycling, plastic sometimes gets a bad wrap. In truth, because of plastic’s low value as a recycled good, it can be hard to incentivize the public to participate more in recycling efforts, and it’s remarkable how much has already been done and how businesses such as Fair Harbor Clothing have been able to maximize the use of plastic far beyond traditional uses.
Recycling efforts by both consumers and manufacturers have made incredible progress since the 1960s. Overall production of Municipal Solid Waste (basically any trash you would put out on the curb) has been decreasing, while recycling has been consistently increasing. And when it comes to the materials most commonly recovered through recycling, plastics lead the way, accounting for 39.9% of all recovered MSW.
One of the most commonly recycled plastics is PET packaging, the material labeled with the #1 recycling code. As much as 100% of PET products can be made from recycled materials, making it one of the most efficient product types in the world. And to give you an idea of the scope of recycling efforts around the country, there are an estimated 9,400 curbside recycling collection programs and 10,000 drop-off sites for PET bottles and packaging.
Not only that, but plastic packaging manufacturers themselves have made considerable efforts to divert plastic from the waste cycle. Custom product packaging manufacturers have led the way in designing “reduced packaging,” which reduces freight costs and weight. Plus, plastic packaging manufacturers have developed “part light-weighting,” which further reduces environmental impacts from plastics. This process involves reducing plastic use through innovative new designs, and helps meet sustainability goals and reduce plastic waste in landfills.
Together, consumers and plastic packaging manufacturers can continue finding new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
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