As a population, we produce and use over 300 million tonnes of plastic every year. Single use plastics are made from raw materials such as oil and gas, which are then refined into fuels and applied with heat to turn them into useable plastics. Not only is this process creating a material that takes thousands of years to break down, but it also requires a considerable amount of energy to take place.
Single use plastics take an average of 1000 years to break down in landfill sites, emitting toxic gases into the atmosphere and environment around them in the process. The broken-down plastics degrade into microplastics, which seep into the earth, disrupt ecosystems and infiltrate water sources. There are currently between 50-75 trillion microplastics floating in our oceans, making up over 80% of all marine pollution.
Global Recycling Day began in 2018 to celebrate and promote the importance of recycling. It is a day to raise awareness of the value of our natural resources and the role recycling must play in the future of our planet. Recycling not only reduces emissions from landfill, but it also leads to reduced demand for new production of plastics, reducing demand for oil and fossil fuels.
Plastic bottles are usually made from two types of plastic that are easy to recycle – PET and HDPE. 99% of all UK local authorities now offer collection facilities for plastic bottles either through household or company recycling collections or at Recycling Centres.
You can find out which types of plastic your local authority collects by entering your postcode into Recycle Now’s Locator tool below, to ensure you are recycling as many plastics as possible.
Today people are more informed about recycling, each year the number of recyclable and reusable plastics created is rising. This has led to over 700 million tonnes of Greenhous Gas emissions being saved as a direct result of less plastics being sent to landfill. It is imperative that individuals, companies and governments work together to reduce waste and conserve our natural resources.