If there are places I could recycle plastics that I normally throw out, I would bring those plastics to recycle them if it wasn’t unreasonably far away. It would take extra energy to travel to another place to recycle them, but I would still do it. I would accumulate all the soft plastic bags and styrofoam, and bring those plastics to the place all at once. Although there would be energy used in bringing the plastics to that place, it would also be just as bad to throw the plastic out.
Although I would go to the places to recycle the plastics, the best thing to do is to not purchase those plastic items in the first place.
We use a lot of plastic in our lives. There are different categories for different plastics. The numbers on the plastic are the recycling numbers. However, not all plastics are recyclable, and not all plastics are safe for eating and drinking.
There is a lot of plastic with a #5 stamped on it in my bin. This type of plastic is polypropylene (PP). It can come in contact with food, it can be opaque or translucent, and it can be colored. It is stiff but not as brittle as some other plastics. It is heat resistant and tough, yet lightweight. These characteristics make PP a good choice for many different types of containers, such as yogurt and sour cream containers.
Polypropylene is considered to be safe for reuse. Although few people recycle it, it is becoming more accepted by recyclers today. When it is recycled, it is used to make landscaping border stripping, battery cases, brooms, bins, and trays.
Some plastics in the #7 plastic category can’t be recycled. While most plastics are recyclable, some of the recyclable plastics are not good for the environment, like styrofoam. The chemicals in styrofoam can contaminate food and drinks, and it also leaches into the environment. It is best to avoid these harmful plastics and use something reusable and more environmental-friendly, such as using a metal water bottle instead of a plastic one.
We learned about different types of plastic, including thermoplastics and thermosets. While thermoplastics can be remelted and reshaped; once thermosets are formed, they can’t be returned to their original state.
Thermoplastics and thermosets can be replicated with common foods. Something like an ice cube reflects a thermoplastic: it can be melted, and refrozen again into an ice cube. An egg mirrors how a thermoset works: once you cook an egg, it cannot go back into its original form. I find it fascinating that two completely different things act similarly; just as an ice cube and an egg can replicate thermoplastics and thermosets.
It is interesting to learn that scientists and engineers continue to create new types of plastic. New innovations are constantly being discovered, and this new technology can help us do more things.