Why Should You Discard Plastic in an Environmentally Friendly Way?
Plastic that’s not discarded in an environmentally friendly way can cause serious problems that last for years, decades or centuries. These problems affect both wildlife and human beings.
Every year, Americans generate millions of tons waste material made from petroleum-based plastic products. The number one source of this waste is throwaway products such as water bottles, soda bottles, shampoo bottles, milk jugs and container lids. Other waste products made from this material include trash bags, utensils, diapers. Unfortunately, when discarded in an unsafe manner, bottles and other products made from plastic can easily harm human health and the natural environment.
Cities and towns throughout the country have programs designed to move recyclable waste from businesses and private homes to a nearby recycling center. Almost 2,000 companies across the country are dedicated to taking recycled materials from local collection points, sorting out the materials according to the specific type of plastic they contain, washing the materials and grinding them up for reuse. Despite the growing popularity of material collection and reuse, only 9 percent of all plastic products in the U.S. are properly recycled. Bottles get recycled more often that other types of products. Still, at most, only about one-third of all bottles get broken down and reused.
Plastic that’s not sent to a recycling center can cause serious problems that last for years, decades or even longer spans of time. For example, roadside litter made from this material can easily travel down storm drains and enter local streams and rivers, as well as the ocean. Plastic accounts for over 80 percent of all litter in the ocean, and can form massive trash “islands” that float along changing currents.Once formed, these islands are incredibly hard to locate, break down and remove. In fact, they can last for literally thousands of years. Birds and other wildlife that encounter these floating trash hulks, or smaller amounts of litter, can easily starve to death after eating plastic. They can also die if they get tangled or trapped in the material.
Most plastic that doesn’t end up as litter is buried in a landfill or burned at an incinerator facility. While these may seem like safe disposal options, they come with their own set of environmental risks. For example, toxins from the material can leech out of a landfill over time and eventually enter the water supply. Exposure to these toxins is linked to increased chances of developing serious health issues that include damaged immune function, hormone disordersand cancer.Plastic burned in an incinerator can also generate toxic ash and smoke that pass into the environment through the air.
For more information on plastic recycling in Mountain View, visit this site.
With the advantage of having lots of experience in the Recycling Industry, Dustin shares his knowledge through his writing. You can find his thoughts at Livejournal blog.
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