Why is recycling important | Benefits of recycled plastic

Why is recycling important | Benefits of recycled plastic

Benefits of Plastic Recycling

Plastic recycling has been around since the late 1980s but the waste trade increased exponentially in 1993 and onwards, leading to many of the present-day obstacles that the recycling industry faces as well as the detrimental environmental impacts of this material ending up in our natural environment. That is why the scaling of plastic recycling is especially important in today’s reality as we deal with climate change and extensive plastic pollution in the ocean. There are several reasons for recycling, including economic and environmental benefits. How can recycling help the earth and help us? That is where the principles of a circular economy come into play working to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate materials, and regenerate nature. It’s about pursuing economic opportunity sustainably. Recycling provides space for innovation and employment within the industry as technology is developed to make it more efficient. Although not all polymers can currently be recycled, there are still many useful things that can be made from them. An example is the Othalo project in Kenya, Cameroon, and Senegal. This Norwegian start-up is addressing the need for 160 million affordable homes in sub-Saharan Africa by using recycled plastic to create components such as partitions for walls, ceilings, and floors. One of these homes uses eight tons of recycled material. Additionally, it has increasingly been used for insulation in clothing and homes, as well as for pavement. Instead of continuing to develop new types of plastic, there needs to be more focus on recycling that which already exists and repurposing it as well as making these products recyclable.

Why is recycling important?

Why is recycling good for the environment? For starters it addresses the plastic waste that is ocean or landfill-bound and gives it value, thus protecting the environment by keeping it from polluting marine environments, taking up landfill space that contributes to deforestation, reduce incineration and the release of harmful toxins into the atmosphere, and it also decreases the demand and reliance on virgin plastic, which requires fossil fuels and releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. How does recycling help the environment? Let’s talk numbers and how recycling can save energy. Recycling can reduce carbon emissions by using less energy and sending less waste to landfills. In fact, one ton of recycled plastic saves 7,200 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is the equivalent amount of energy required to run a household for seven months.  Additionally, recycling that same amount can save 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space and keep it out of natural environments where it harms ecosystems.

It is predicted that if we continue the path we are on, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Already, 85% of marine pollution at the surface and in deep ocean sediments is plastic. According to the United Nations, 800 species (at least) worldwide are impacted by marine debris and it is estimated that 13 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year—this is the equivalent of a garbage trucks’ load going into the ocean every minute. This pollution in the ocean not only harms the organisms in these ecosystems, but it makes its way through the food chain until it reaches us as well. Recycling also saves other resources such as water, petroleum, natural gas, and coal which are required to create the virgin resin. Recycling discarded and old plastic waste would reduce petroleum consumption by around 40%. The importance of recycling is not simply the amount of waste it uses and removes from the environment immediately, but also the waste it prevents and the sustainable business and lifestyle models it can promote and support. By scaling plastic recycling and developing the proper infrastructure, there is the potential to sustainably use plastic in areas where there is no other alternative in terms of material while removing the negative impacts that continually sourcing virgin material has on the environment. These advancements are taking place and it is thanks to governments and companies committing to support a plastic circular economy that the space and funds are becoming available for this type of innovation. For example, something as simple as redesigning the packaging for meat trays to instead use recycled food-grade plastic and using a design that removes the need for extra padding can save thousands of tons of packaging that would otherwise be discarded and sent to landfills, incinerated, or end up in the ocean.

Join MikaCycle to save the planet

There may be multiple recycling plastic companies, but MikaCycle is a marketplace that came about out of a concern for the state of the plastic pollution crisis and asking how recycling can help the planet. It is a digital marketplace, also called a recycling marketplace where companies can buy or sell recycled materials and offer their services. It aims to provide a seamless transaction process with a reliable payment method and shipment guarantee, while providing members the ability to negotiate directly with buyers/sellers to source quality and sustainable recycled plastic. It has worked to address the pain points in the industry by conducting research with over 200 recyclers and brands to make it easier for people to opt for recycled alternatives instead of virgin material. At MikaCycle we believe that although plastic has had some negative impacts, it is here to stay for the foreseeable future and does have applications that are meaningful. However, these resources and waste can be better allocated, and recycling is the way to go. We aim to support the scaling of plastic recycling and development of this market to thrive and reach higher percentages of recycling across industries in a more standardized and secure way to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. So, how does recycling help the planet? You’ve already known the answer.