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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > Operations Strategy & Management > Waste Management

Recycling Plastic - The Forever Resource

What happens when we lose plastic? Where does it go? How long does it last? What is the solution for all these quadratons of waste plastic?

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Plastic, the miracle material of yesteryear has developed a bad, really bad reputation. For starters, it's strangling our marine life and phytoplankton on the ocean's oxygen garden. And it lasts... well, practically forever.

So what are we going to do with all this plastic around us?

New solutions are arising...and deserve our consideration. It's still important to balance the three Rs -- Reduce, Recycle and Reuse, and that is also at the heart of reusing plastic.

Manufacturing processes, collection processes and remanufacturing systems are also part of the solution. Some of the applications being developed for recycling plastic include:

  • Recycled water bottle fabrics for clothing
  • Landscape lumber for park benches, picnic tables, planters, speed bumps, car stops, signs, and lumber.
  • Carpeting, upholstery and wall coverings
  • Energy recycling, sometimes called “waste-to-energy” uses incineration to create energy; which can decrease plastics’ biggest waste problem, growing volumes of municipal solid waste

Plastic recycling is difficult and problematic for two reasons: opposition to burning plastic because of a fear of dioxin and furan formation (which is actually more possible in the creation of virgin plastic, according to online sources) and plastic is fairly expensive to recycle.

Waste paper, used metal and used plastic are the LARGEST EXPORTS out of the Port of Los Angeles, and that is a reminder that "reduce" is the real emperor of the three-pronged to resource management.

Requests for unique recycling solutions are some of our most popular phone calls for solutions. Video tapes rank highest at this time. Followed by industrial scale materials such as a load of slacks, or garden trimmings, or office paper.

Everyone wants to SELL these used materials. But I don't get any requests for where to BUY products with recycled content.

That's the disconnect we need to solve. And it can start with plastic.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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