Thursday, May 15, 2008



Recycling - Separating the Plastic Bottles out from the Rest

I've recently begun to separate my plastic beverage containers (aquafina, lipton diet green tea, diet pepsi, and so forth) from the rest of the trash and I've been amazed at a couple of things. First of all, just how many drinks we go through in a week. Second, how much space these containers actually take up and how much longer it takes a kitchen garbage can to fill up when you're not throwing plastic containers into it.

A couple months ago, I read an article that stated that plastic beverage containers are actually becoming a real environmental concern, mainly because they take up so much space at landfills. I have to admit, it was difficult for me to personally grasp the problem. However, when I see the number of empty containers collected from my own household in just one week, I have to say I'm now a believer.

The following article provides some really interesting information. First off, almost half the increase in caloric intake, since the seventies, has come from sweetened beverages of one kind of another (mainly soft drinks I'm sure).

Not surprisingly, the incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes is soaring through the roof. Secondly, however, the article states that 70 percent of the storage capacity in landfills is being taken up by empty water bottles.

What to do about it? I don't know. I don't believe it is at all practical to think that we can get away from using plastic bottles for drinks. They are too easy to ship and store and too convenient for the consumer. Realistically, does anyone think we'll stop using them? I think the answer, then, has to revolve around recycling.

Two years ago, I read about something called thermal depolymerization. Picture a machine where things that originate from petroleum (plastics) enter one end---and out the other end comes usable fuel. I haven't heard much about this technology lately, but, perhaps, it will come into play at some point in the future.




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