All the plastic products we buy have the recycling symbol on them. This symbol shows that the plastic item can be recycled. Most of the time, the symbol has a number inside it. This number is a code the helps recyclers to sort the used products, by the type of plastic polymer it is made from. In serial order or the recycling codes, the plastics are, PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, Polystyrene, Others.
Let us learn more about the different types of plastics,
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE):
Plastic bags, straws, water bottles, soda bottles, shampoo bottles, etc. are made from this plastic. This plastic is considered to be “safe” as it is BPA free. It has made our lives very easy and convenient. However, it cannot be reused. Thus, all our landfills and oceans are filled with this plastic.
The plastic does not biodegrade into simpler molecules. It does however, photodegrade into smaller particles. This process leaches out antimony, a metalloid (elements having properties similar to metals as well as non-metals). Antimony is a toxic substance. As all the PET plastic photodegrades in our environment, it leaches out antimony.
This antimony then contaminates our water, soil and food, which we ingest. This antimony causes a lot of health problems and infections in us. It is also harmful for animals. It not only contaminates their habitats and food but also physically harms and kills them.
We see pictures of plastic bottles’ rings and plastic bottle caps, stuck in the beaks and internal organs of birds that kills them. Plastic bottles and plastic bags contaminate our water resources and kill the aquatic life.
Most people buy bottled water, thinking it is clean and pure water. The chemicals leach out into the water packaged in the plastic bottles. This contaminates it and makes it unhealthier than tap water. It is way cost effective to filter tap water than to buy packages of bottled water and it is also better for the environment.
Most important thing about PET plastic is that it is recyclable. It is our responsibility to ensure that all PET plastic used by us gets recycled completely instead of ending up in landfills and water sources. A simple habit of recycling every piece of plastic that we use, is really needed to better our environment.
We are doing our bit by sending our plastic waste to nearest recycler, have you? Share your recycling story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello readers, I am Saee Gunjal, author of this Wlog. I am studying Environmental Engineering from 'The University of Toledo' ( Toledo, Ohio) and love to dance. I am passionate about environmental issues and waste management. I plan to work with the same after I graduate. Stay tuned for my next wlog on 'HDPE'