The worldwide problem of waste plastic pollution

Most of us will have been shocked by the level of plastic pollution in the worlds oceans, as recently highlighted in the media. Recycling is just one important way to help address the the situation.

Naturally a large proportion of used plastic containers from semi-rigid fluid containers to food wrappers are disposed of properly, and kept from the wider environment by recycling, incineration of even landfill. But the ubiquitous nature of plastics and the multitude of forms in which they are manufactured means they are all too easily discarded – often  irresponsibly. Even those items such as food bags which have been properly placed in waste bins can all too easily be wind-blown – even during the incineration of landfill process.

Recycling in its fullest sense does have an important role to play – especially when plastic containers are purpose-designed for washing and re-use. Incentivising this by financial reward for returned containers is one option currently being trialled. Bio degradable plastics have also existed for many years and constant improvements are being made. However, it is generally accepted that a change in thinking is required on the initial creation of both containers and other plastic items, with the emphasis on alternative materials and alternative methods of containment.

Here at Malary the plastic waste we recycle generally comes from industry as opposed to local authorities or the general public. This is often in the form of large empty containers such as oil or chemical packaging, similar small packaging and commonly used items such as plastic paint “cans”.  These are washed and either re-used for their original purpose or more commonly shredded for use as new plastic feedstock for remanufacture. Rubberised plastic may be used to manufacture materials such as children’s playground matting or chips. In many cases, we may be asked to recycle the fluid content as well as the containers themselves. We are able to do this through the various other recycling processes at our plant.

This is an established disposal route throughout all sections of commerce and industry, but unfortunately it is domestic or personal-use waste plastics that are the biggest cause of the world’s problem. Drink’s bottles, food trays and drinking straws are common culprits as are plastic packaging and even cotton buds. It is the ongoing difficulty of capturing the huge volumes of these and similar items in a practical and economic way that provides the main challenge. There is also the issue of plastics that are hard to recycle effectively and the cost of sorting all plastics prior to recycling.

If you’d like to find about more about the problem and possible solutions, you may care to visit this link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42703561

Meawhile you can find out more about Malary’s own plastics recycling services here