Where does cardboard, glass, and plastic go to be recycled?

Where does cardboard, glass, and plastic go to be recycled?

     Do you know what happens to cardboard when it goes to recycling? What about plastic and glass? We would like to think that all of the materials we send to be recycled, are. in fact recycled but it just isn't true. What does happen if they aren't recycled? 

     Plastic is the least recyclable material. The variations in resins used to make the original plastic item make it unrecyclable. Different resins melt at different temperatures. Sadly, pretty much "every plastic piece ever made is still around in some shape or form. Less than 55% of plastic recycling plants accept the type of plastic that is recyclable. Only 5% of that plastic is repurposed" according to NPR. Get this, humans produce over 380 MILLION tons of plastic every year. That's an astounding amount. 5.25 TRILLION micro and macro pieces are in the oceans. There HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY. Plastic has consumed our lives, most of which isn't even recyclable. It stays around causing harm, damage, and even death. If plastic can't be recycled it ends up in a landfill, it's incinerated, or littered on the ground. 

     

Cardboard has a better recycling outlook. About 2 months. Most of the cardboard used is recyclable. Things like pizza boxes and fast food bags aren't recyclable because of the oil residue soaked into them. They are trash and should be thrown away. According to Waste Management "70% of cardboard is recycled. Recycled cardboard is used  to make chipboard like cereal boxes, paperboard, paper towels, tissues and printing or writing paper. It's also made into more corrugated cardboard." Did you know cardboard can be recycled 5 to 7 times? When cardboard is sent to the landfill, it sits there, releasing methane gases into the air, contributing to global warming," according to hwestequipment.com. Sending boxes off to the recycling center is one way to take care of old boxes. Using them for shipping items, compost, gardening, forts, storing belonging. There are so many ways to use cardboard. After awhile, it's harder to throw them away. 

     

Glass, at one time, was the choice for many products, before plastic. Made with natural sand, limestone, and soda ash. Glass can be recycled many times over, with the exception of colored glass. More than 28 BILLION glass bottles and jars are sent to the landfill each year. Glass is sent to be further cleaned, then it is sold to glass manufacturing plants to be made into beverage and food containers. If it is going to be a hassle or too expensive, the whole lot will be sent to landfill. I have seen creative crafting projects made with colored pieces of glass. The amazing thing about glass, no matter how many times it's recycled, it never looses strength. Ceramics, pottery, Pyrex, and decorative glass products can't be recycled. Colors like green and amber/brown can and should be recycled. I absolutely love when light shines through glass pieces. I understand that with consumer error and the risk of cuts, glass isn't the best option on the store shelves. Some things can't be done with glass. It seems to me though, we could replace some plastic with glass or another sustainable, natural ingredient that can withstand shelf life and angry or clumsy shoppers. 

 

a pile of empty glass bottles.

         

No matter how small we feel our efforts to recycle are, they are not done in vain. Every step in the right direction will add up to big changes. Using a travel mug instead of bottled water. Packing snacks in a reusable container rather than pre made to go lunch packs. Every conscience decision we make to better the planet, will always be a step in the right direction, for everyone.

yellow sun that says enjoy the day in a yellow banner signed Jenni Grice the author
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