Plastic Pollution: How to Recycle Plastic Waste
Plastic pollution has become a major worry around the world. Plastic does not only pollute the air that we are breathing, it also pollutes the soil and the water we daily drink and use. In fact, plastics take over 400 years to break down and have become an epidemic that needs to be stopped before it destroys and damages our planet even more, especially since most of our plastic waste ends up in the ocean instead of a landfill. Plastic is undeniably very useful and durable. However, its environmental impact is very harmful and might last for centuries if no action towards recycling them is taken soon.
Here are some recycling ideas that can help us save our planet from plastic pollution:
1- Milk jugs and plastic containers: Choosing a product made of recyclable plastic is the first step in the right direction. Recyclable products can include plastic spoons, forks, and plastic cups, as well as milk jugs and plastic containers. These containers, which are often used for milk, shampoo, and cleaning products are made from polyethylene, which means that they are recyclable. They can, in fact, be melted and made into new bottles. However, they can also be repurposed or turned into pens, picnic tables, toys, playground equipment and even plastic lumber and fencing. Plastic lumber, for instance, has many benefits, as it is water resistant, meaning that it can replace wood, helping us preserve our nature – and our furniture – even more.
2- Products with microplastics: Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that can be found in products such as toothpastes, cleaning products, and beauty products. However, they can also be found in other materials such as tires, and cigarette butts. Disposing of tires and cigarette butts is also a growing problem in the world. While a part of them is now being recycled, the other bigger part is still harmful for the environment. However, there are many creative ways to use tires. For example, because of their round shapes and flexible structure, tires can actually be used as planters for gardens. They can also be reused as tables or swings for the backyard. Some other recycling ideas include ottomans made from tires and yarn. On the other hand, cigarette butts are being used for other purposes. They are being recycled into bricks that can be used in construction.
3- Plastic bags: Plastic bags are another major source of plastic pollution in the world. They are used mostly to carry groceries and other products. However, plastic bags contribute greatly to the plastic pollution and are now being replaced with cloth bags that are eco-friendly and reusable. Plastic bags can also be recycled and can be used for decoration purposes in our home. For example, a plastic bag can be turned into an elegant and incredibly budget-friendly outdoor pom pom light. On the other hand, they can also be used to make DIY outdoor pillows for the sitting area. Another idea is to fuse plastic bags and transform them into table coasters to avoid ruining your furniture. Recycled plastic bags can also be turned into plastic lumber, furniture, and even rugs.
4- Plastic bottles: Plastic bottles are another common source of plastic pollution around the world. While it is convenient to drink straight out of plastic bottles, the pollution and trash that results from throwing them away makes a huge impact on our environment. However, just like plastic containers and milk jugs, plastic bottles can also be recycled, reused, or repurposed. In fact, when plastic bottles are recycled, they can be turned into many things, including shirts, jackets, and bags. They can also be used to create a vertical hanging garden, which is a great way to help reduce our carbon footprint. Plastic bottles can also be used to create efficient greenhouses, which gives us a chance to grow our own food in our own home. Plastic bottles are already being used to create furniture as well, with some companies melting and stretching plastic bottles to create stools, shelves, chairs, and tables.
5- Plastic straws: Every day, millions of plastic straws are used in homes, restaurants, and fast-food chains. This contributes greatly to landfills and oceans full of straws. Thankfully, these straws can be reused in other projects related to art, crafting, and DIYs. This is especially true in the architecture and design fields, where plastic straws are now being recycled and repurposed for other uses such as lamps, baskets, and many more. For example, striped plastic straws can be used to create colorful photo frames. On the other hand, plastic straws can also be used to create spring vases for your outdoor sitting area. Colorful artificial flowers, storage containers, and window curtains can also be made using plastic straws. The straws’ different colors can add color and texture to your home decoration and make your house look vibrant and bright.
Across the world, cities, communities, and individuals are coming up with solutions to reduce our negative impact on the environment. Some countries have already started banning the use of plastic plates and cups, and others are working towards increasing recycling rates of plastic waste. There are many steps that can help us reduce plastic’s environmental harm. It is important that we stop purchasing new plastics and start using products and items made from renewable resources; namely paper and wood. It is also important to recycle the plastic waste that we already have and that is already affecting life on land and below water.