We do not consider ourselves to be dramatic people, but we are willing to make a dramatic statement. Single use plastics are one of the most destructive things human beings have ever done to the environment. From depleting non-renewable resources to creating garbage that will not biodegrade to strangling and killing sea life and life on earth, single use plastics are devastating.
They are also darn convenient. Thirsty? Grab a bottle of water. Need to wash your hair? Pick up some shampoo and conditioner in a plastic container. While life is possible without single use plastics, it is less convenient. Even if you make the choice to embrace reusable materials, you are still going to be living in a world where single-use plastic is everywhere.
That is why it is so important to recycle plastics. While single use plastics are devastating, the reality is that most plastics in use today are recyclable. Recovering and reusing those materials significantly reduces the negative impact that those products have on the environment.
First, creating new plastics requires burning fossil fuels like petroleum, which creates greenhouse gases. Recycling plastic reduces greenhouse admissions and reduces the amount of energy used to create new plastics. It also helps preserve the water used to manufacture plastics.
Second, plastics are generally not biodegradable. That is why so many of our landfills are full of plastic and one of the primary reasons is that there is an island of garbage floating in the ocean. Recycling plastic keeps it from landing in a landfill.
Third, failing to dispose of plastic properly poses a risk to wildlife. Animals on earth and in the sea attempt to eat, get stuck in, or get trapped by plastic waste. Proper disposal and recycling of plastic can help save animal lives.
In other words, recycling promotes sustainability. The idea of a sustainable world is that we reach a point where human activity has no net effect on the Earth or its other inhabitants. Recycling plastic is one important step towards a sustainable world. It reduces reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuels. It helps protect animal life from human-caused deaths. It reduces the amount of land used in landfills and also the amount of litter found outside of designated landfills. Finally, it reduces direct pollution to air, land, and water resources. Recycling your plastic might not save the world, but it is an important step towards a greener and more sustainable future.