Recycling and Conservation

What products are made from recycled plastic?

Resin Common Uses Products Made from Recycled Resin
HDPE Beverage bottles, milk jugs, detergent bottles, milk and soft drink crates, pipe, cable, film Motor oil bottles, pipes, and pails
LDPE Film bags such as trash bags, coatings, plastic bottles New trash bags, pallets, carpets, fiberfill, non-food
PET Soft drink, detergent, and juice bottles Bottles/containers
PP Auto battery cases, screw-on caps and lids; some yogurt and margarine tubs, plastic film Auto parts, batteries, carpets
PS Housewares, electronics, fast food carry-out packaging, plastic utensils Insulation board, office equipment, reusable cafeteria trays
PVC Sporting goods, luggage, pipes, auto parts; in packaging for shampoo bottles, blister packaging, and films Drainage pipes, fencing, house siding

A new clothing fiber called Fortrel EcoSpun is made from recycled plastic soda bottles. The fiber is knit or woven into garments such as fleece for outerwear or long underwear. The processor estimates that every pound of Fortrel EcoSpun fiber results in ten plastic bottles being kept out of landfills.

What natural resources are saved by recycling paper?

One ton (907 kilograms) of recycled waste paper would save an average of 7,000 gallons (26,460 liters) of water, 3.3 cubic yards (2.5 cubic meters) of landfill space, 3 barrels of oil, 17 trees, and 4,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity—enough energy to power the average home for six months. It would also reduce air pollution by 74 percent.

When offered a choice between plastic or paper bags for your groceries, which should you choose?

The answer is neither. Both are environmentally harmful and the question of which is the more damaging has no clear-cut answer. Twelve million barrels of oil (a non-renewable resource) are required to produce 100 billion plastic bags. Plastic bags degrade slowly in landfills and can harm wildlife if swallowed, and producing them pollutes the environment. In contrast, 35 million trees are cut down to produce 25 million brown paper bags accompanied by air and water pollution during the manufacturing process. Although each can be recycled, the EPA estimates that only one percent of plastic bags and 20 percent of paper bags are recycled. Instead of choosing between paper and plastic bags, bring your own reusable canvas or string containers to the store, and save and reuse any paper or plastic bags you get.


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