Plastic Sustainability Facts That You Didn’t Know

When it comes to plastic sustainability, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction due to the ever-increasing amount of information (and misinformation) available. As a team of experts in plastic waste that strive to make plastic a sustainable commodity, Change Plastic for Good knows how important it is to have the correct facts. That is why we have compiled a list of plastic sustainability facts that you didn’t know to demonstrate some of the most pressing issues with plastic, recycling, and waste.

Learn why plastic is not sustainable and how it can be changed.

4 Surprising Facts About Plastic Sustainability

The following facts about plastic sustainability are important for everyone to know:

1. Many Plastic Goods Cannot Be Recycled

Contrary to popular belief, most plastic commodities are not recyclable due to cleanliness standards or local/governmental restrictions. Straws, coffee cups, and plastic bags account for a massive portion of plastic waste every year, and none of them are recyclable in most areas of the world. This is especially true for coffee cups, as they are often thrown into recycling bins and contaminate other plastic items by getting them dirty with leftover coffee, further increasing plastic waste.

2. You Cannot Recycle Dirty Plastic

Any plastic material with food residue on or in it cannot be recycled. For plastics to be transformed into recycled goods, they must be of decent quality. This means that plastic products will not even have the chance to be recycled if they are slightly dirty. If you are about to recycle plastic food packaging, be sure to thoroughly wash it before placing it in the bin as this will drastically increase the chances of it being recycled.

3. Some Plastics Can Take 400 Years to Break Down

Compounds are often added to make plastic stronger, more flexible, and durable for convenient everyday use. While this is undoubtedly useful for many products, these compounds come with a steep price. Many of these additives drastically increase the life of plastic products, with some estimates suggesting that common disposable plastics can take at least 400 years to break down. This means that a water bottle that is placed in a landfill today will likely still be there in the year 2,400 under a mountain of new waste.

4. Over 40% of Plastic is Designed for One Use

Over 40% of all plastic that is produced every year is designated for packaging or plastic bags. Both items are created to serve a single purpose and are often only used once before they are thrown away. For example, most plastic bags are only used for an average of 12-15 minutes before they are discarded, making them one of the most prevalent sources of plastic waste. This is especially concerning when you consider that plastic products used for building construction or electronics are designed to last for years or decades.

To learn more about plastic sustainability, BDP®, or greenwashing, get in touch with the team at Change Plastic for Good. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding BDP® or the movement to make plastic completely sustainable.