Did you know that you can recycle plastic bottles of almost any kind?
Almost all plastic bottles can be efficiently recycled. This includes containers for beverages, food and household cleaning products; Bottles of shampoo, shower gel and other toiletries and caps and lids.
Most retail plastic bottles are made of PET also known as polyethylene terephthalate. PET is an ideal material for making disposable water bottles as it is strong, lightweight and a Type 1 plastic which means it can be easily recycled.
How to Recycle Plastic Bottles – The Process
The process to recycle plastic bottles involves several steps. These processes have been made easier with advancements in recycling technology. The simplest steps to recycle plastic bottles in 2022 include:
- Recovery of plastic bottles after they have been used, instead of disposing them along with other waste materials at home or work.
- Collection of the bottles in a central location.
- Crushing of collected plastic bottles with other PET products
- Melting the resulting PET plastic pieces and turning them back into pellets.
- Using the final plastic granules or pellets as raw material to create new plastic products, including new water bottles.
Why Should You Recycle Plastic Bottles in 2022?
Plastic waste is versatile and adaptable, as the wide range of possible uses shows. There is a huge market for recycled plastic bottles and containers, and avoiding landfill for this valuable material also helps reduce total energy usage and emissions.
Lesser Energy of Production
Recycled bottles use 75% less energy to produce than new ones. The energy savings from recycling plastic bottles are significant, and while throwing away the bottle doesn’t necessarily help with end-of-life issues, it does help reduce resource use during manufacturing.
75% less energy is used per bottle, with some estimates suggesting this process can result in energy savings equivalent to taking 360,000 cars off the road.
Better Use of Limited Global Water Supply
Interestingly, as you recycle plastic bottles, you also help to reduce water use. It takes six times more water to make new water bottles than it requires to recycle plastic bottles of the same quantity.
Recycling Plastic Bottles Reduce Environmental Waste
According to a report by Plastic Oceans, 14% of all waste is made up of beverage packaging. Therefore, recycling plastic bottles can help reduce the amount of waste on our roads, waterways and oceans.
This is particularly important as plastic bottles can take 450 to 1,000 years to completely decompose. Since they are not fully biodegradable and as they decompose indiscriminately, they break down into smaller and smaller microplastics that act as dangerous pollutants.
To Earn Extra Income
Having to recycle plastic bottles used at your home, school, or workplace is one way you can make some extra income in 2022. Playing the #TrashEvolution game is a fun way to both recycle your plastic waste and earn rewards, as much as $50.
Practical Example of How to Recycle Plastic Bottles
Identify trash bins at your home, school, workplace, or local surroundings.
To recycle your plastic bottles of lotion and other personal care products, use the pump and some water to empty the contents, and prepare the bottle for recycling.
For plastic containers without a pump, empty the contents, snap the lid back on to keep everything together, and prepare for collection.
Find a local recycling centre around you or better yet, play #TrashEvolution, recycle plastic bottles in a fun way and for more benefits. In some cases, you get to win up to $50 with your trash.
How Waste Plastic Bottles Become New Clothing
- 6-8 large post-consumer PET plastic bottles (to make 1 recycled t-shirt)
- The bottles are clinically washed, to remove impurities.
- Next, the plastic bottles are crushed into flakes.
- The plastic flakes are then melted into small granules or pellets.
- These granules are then passed through an extruder and spun into soft strands of yarn.
- Finally, the yarn is woven into stylish and durable garments.
What Happens to Recycled Plastic from Bottles and Containers?
By now, you know that after the collection of plastic bottles and other PET wastes, the mixed plastics are sorted, packaged and transported to a recycling facility. There the plastics are cleaned, washed and ground into flakes.
The flakes are dried, melted, filtered and processed into granules. These are then sent to a manufacturer to be heated and formed into a new product.
Depending on the type of plastic, recycling can breathe new life into a product, such as fibres for clothing, carpets, car parts or belts. It can also become a cutting board, a durable outdoor platform, a bench, a piece of plastic wood, a play area or even a new trash can.
How Many Times Can You Recycle Plastic Bottles?
Unfortunately, your waste plastic bottles cannot be recycled indefinitely. While there are some brands that make their bottles entirely from recycled PET, individual PET bottles cannot be recycled indefinitely.
You may be wondering, why is this so?
When PET is first made, it contains long, flexible polymer chains, which is what makes PET such a light and flexible material.
However, plastic polymer chains are broken down during the recycling process. With broken chains, the material becomes less suitable for crafting sustainable new products.
This doesn’t mean that recycling is bad news. What it means is that recycling needs to be a circular economy. When plastics are beyond their recycling lifespan, they can be channelled to incineration for the generation of energy.
What do you think about this piece of information? Will you recycle plastic bottles, have fun, and earn by playing #TrashEvolution?