2013 February – Recycling – does it REALLY matter?

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Park bench made from recycled plastic

Park bench made from recycled plastic

Manufacturing with recycled paper saves more than 40% of energy sources, and requires less water and fewer chemicals than with virgin paper production, thus helping to conserve our forests and save landfill space. Recycled paper products (such as recycled newspaper and office paper) include paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper, telephone directories, building insulation, biodegradable kitty litter, sheet rock, countertops, and newspapers.

Recycled plastics are being used to create everything from fleece clothing to carpets to park benches. One company creates handbags and accessories from drink-pouch and snack-food wrappers, and cork boards from wine corks. Another makes razors and toothbrushes from used yogurt containers.

  • #1 plastic is used in carpets, backpacks, socks, sleeping bags, jacket insulation.
  • #2 plastic can be used in plastic lumber for decking and docks, new bottles, buckets, Frisbees, stadium seats, trash cans, traffic barrier cones, and yard furniture.
  • #4 plastic grocery bags go into plastic trash bags./
  • #6 plastic makes egg cartons, license plate frames, park benches, packing peanuts, and dashboards.

Sherwin-Williams received an EPA green chemistry award for its paint formulation that contains recycled plastic bottles and produces less air pollution than typical oil-based paints.

Uniforms in Nike’s Pro TurboSpeed collection, worn by Olympians from the U.S. and other nations in London’s Olympic Summer Games, were composed of up to 13 recycled plastic bottles each.

Each 2012 Ford Focus electric contains approximately 22 post-consumer recycled plastic bottles in its seat fabric. The company has also developed plastics reinforced with uncommon biomaterials like wheat straw and a plant called kenaf and seat cushion stuffing made of soy-based foam, and is even working on developing plastics reinforced with recycled U.S. currency. “On an average car we use about 300 pounds of plastic,” Angela Harris, Ford biomaterials research engineer, told Earth911.

Aluminum can be recycled into a lot of different products such as tractor trailer and car bodies; however, aluminum cans usually become new aluminum cans. It can be recycled indefinitely, returning as a new can in as little as 60 days of being recycled.

All types of used glass containers can be reused indefinitely to make new glass products. Because of lower melting temperatures, it is actually easier to manufacture new glass containers from recycled glass than from raw material.

What unusual (or everyday) product have YOU discovered made of post-consumer material? Post a comment – I would like to hear about it!

To read more plus resources for this article: Gwinnettcb.org (Clean & Beautiful); eHOW.com; Earth911; Green Living National Geographic; Livestrong.com

MAKE IT PERSONAL AND BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!

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