I can hold my head up here - I have actually written to my local paper about plastics and recycling them. Plastics are a major offender in the packaging of items from foodstuffs to postal cushioning. A lot of packaging materials are made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). These are biodegradable, but require a lot of time and special conditions to degrade and are not considered viable to recycle – certainly in the UK which still does not have household collection of plastics everywhere.
It is hard to find out about if the plastics we put in our recycling bins are actually recycled. We tend to go by the numbers on the base. The symbols here – polymer ID or PET codes - were actually developed by the American plastics industry to give the plastic recycling industry a rough guide to the many different plastic polymers in use today. But the symbols do not necessarily mean that a plastic can be recycled and they often cause confusion. It does seem, in the UK at least, that those with code 1 and 2 are recycled if they are bottles but beyond that who can say?
|Cartoon from www.ecologycenter.org home to the |
International Plastics Task Force.