What are the benefits of recycling plastics?

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Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

What are the benefits of recycling plastics?

Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet, one of the most valuable resources. The oceans are home to millions of plants and animals, and yet we pollute them heavily. Ocean pollution is on the rise, but so is involvement. The best way to deal with ocean trash is through recycling. Do you know the benefits of recycling? Have you ever wondered what are the effects of ocean pollution?

There are several causes of ocean pollution such as sewage, toxic chemicals, oil spillage and of course, plastics. A staggering amount of plastics like bottles, single-use grocery bags or drinking straws enters the oceans each year, polluting the beaches and getting ingested by fish. The majority of pollutants come from land-based activities. Unfortunately, in the Pacific Ocean, there is a garbage patch that is over twice the size of Texas. Well, imagine that!

plastic bottles on a beach

Plastic is harming marine life and all of us

The effects of ocean pollution include depletion of oxygen content in the water, failure in the reproductive system of marine animals, disruption to the cycle of coral reefs, contamination of food chain, and it even affects our health. Here are 5 facts that demonstrate the gravity of the problem:

1. A study from the University of Georgia estimated that 18 billion pounds of plastic trash enter the ocean every year. That’s like putting 5 trash bags of plastic on every foot of coastline around the world.

2. The 5 most common items found during cleanups are single-use, disposable plastics such as food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws, drink stirrers, and plastic cigarette butts.

3. Each year approximately 1 million sea birds die from plastic.

4. There are close to 500 dead zones, covering over 245,000 km² globally, a similar size as the United Kingdom.

5. Plastic can be found also in the depths of the ocean. A study shows that crustaceans in the Marianas Trench have ingested plastic.

Benefits of recycling

The process of recycling plastic can save 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space, reducing water pollution. Another benefit is that it reduces the amount of energy and resources needed to produce plastic. Recycling also means creating less new plastic, and implicitly less fossil-fuel hydrocarbons, which is for sure a good thing for the environment. Moreover, recycling protects people, and if plastics are not recycled, they can be tossed or washed into rivers, seas, and oceans, polluting nature. This is when it becomes a huge problem for everyone.

A great way to tackle this problem is through a circular economy. By circulating plastics back into the manufacturing flow and reusing them in new products, we can help our environment and create a more sustainable recycling model. Companies need to come together to find innovative solutions that end plastics waste. The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization, is developing a passive system, using the natural oceanic forces such as wind, waves, and currents to catch and concentrate the plastics. They say that this system could clean up half of the Great Pacific garbage patch in 5 years.

plastic waste on a beach

Make a difference

To combat the problem of plastic pollution, companies need to get involved. The Walt Disney Company announced a ban on plastic straws and stirrers. This policy will cut down over 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers that are used each year. Walt Disney will also eliminate polystyrene cups and reduce single-use plastic bags.

Another great example is Corona, a global beer brand, that announced the use of a new, sustainable package. Their recent six-pack rings can contribute to reducing ocean plastic pollution in terms of responsibility.

A European carpet company called Sedna is also fighting against marine plastic pollution. They make 5 different carpet ranges, using Econyl regenerated nylon, a thread made from recycled materials like old carpets and abandoned fishing nets.

What do you think is the best solution to ocean plastic pollution?


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