It's impossible to understate the importance of plastic in our modern world. Plastic is one of the most used resources with almost every object or item in our households having a least once come into contact with plastic.
To put it simply plastic is unavoidable in our modern world, but that raises the question of how to be eco-friendly with a product that is responsible for most of the pollution in our oceans.
This blog will be looking at the plastic resin codes and what they mean and if they can be recycled. As well will also be taking a quick look at where we can volunteer to help clean up the ocean.
Firstly what is the resin code? All plastics have a code on them with the recycling symbol as well as a number from 1 to 7. These numbers not only change what polymer will be used for but also whether or not they are recyclable.
1. PET or PETE stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate. This is the most one of the most popular type of plastics mainly used to make bottles, jars, and bags. PET is recyclable and can be reused but unfortunately, as you've no doubt seen plastic bottles and bags are ever-present in the ocean
2. HDPE stands for High-Density Polyethylene. This plastic is generally used for bottles that contain chemical components like shampoo, soap or children’s toys. Like PET HDPE is fully recyclable.
3. PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride. PVC is the most popular choice for plumbing as you've no doubt heard of PVC pipe, it can also be used in the creation of shoes. PVC is recyclable but not all recycling centers have the capacity to recycle this material so you'll need to call ahead and check if it can be recycled.
4. LDPE stands for Low-Density Polyethylene. Like it's high-density counterpart this plastic is somewhat malleable but is generally lighter, thinner and more bendable. LDPE can be found in cling wrap, sandwich bags, and squeezable bottles. Unlike HDPE not all recycling centers can handle LDPE so you'll need to call ahead and check.
5. PP stands for Polypropylene. This plastic can mainly be found in single-use plastics like disposable cups and plates, takeout containers and diapers. PP can be recycled but is normally avoided due to the difficult recycling procedure meaning that it will realistically end up in a landfill.
6. PS stands for Polystyrene sometimes call Styrofoam. We all know Styrofoam mainly from Packing peanuts (the little pieces of fluff in your delivered package so the item isn't destroyed via shipping), Disposable coffee cups and plastic cutlery. It isn't commercially viable to recycle Polystyrene meaning that almost all of it will end up in a landfill.
7. Other is the catch-all for any polymer not included in the previous 6. This can include plastics like PLA, ABS, Nylon, and Fiberglass. These plastics are used for items like baby bottles and medical storage containers. Because of the wide variety of plastics, you'll need to check individually if they are recyclable or not. As an example, ABS is recyclable but PLA is actually biodegradable.
Learning about these lists can help you make better choices when it comes to choosing plastic. Because though we would all like to avoid using plastic it is simply impossible in this modern world. So looking for the 1 or 2 symbols can help you know that the plastic your using can be recycled and reused.
It's also important to remember that just because something says it's recyclable doesn't mean that it will be recycled. There is new government legislation that will be coming into effect that will make producers of packaging responsible for recycling these plastics but that is still several years off. Until then we have to be diligent about recycling and making sure we can reuse as much as possible.
Learning about Plastics is very important but it's also important to learn about clean up efforts. There are some fantastic groups out there dedicated to cleaning up the ocean who could always use your help or financial assistance.
The aptly named Ocean clean up https://theoceancleanup.com/ has made fantastic inroads to help get plastic waste out of our oceans, their goal is to clean up 90% of the plastic pollution in the ocean.
Big Blue Ocean Cleanup is also working to remove all the plastic polluting our oceans you can find more about them here: https://www.bigblueoceancleanup.org/
You can also check out Surfers Against Sewage at https://www.sas.org.uk/ and all their great work.
Of course, there are a plethora of more non-profit ocean clean-ups that can use your help as well.
If you'd like to learn more about Tavos and our solution to single-use plastics you can visit us at tavoscanada.com/about.
Here's to the new year 2020 were we finely clean up our ocean!