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Recycling is the Key to Reducing Plastic’s Huge Carbon Footprint

In a world increasingly concerned about climate change and environmental sustainability, the spotlight is fixed firmly on the impact of plastic on our planet. A recent report by CleanHub, an organisation concerned with plastic waste prevention, has brought to light startling figures: plastic contributes 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually, surpassing the emissions from both the aviation (1.9%) and shipping (1.7%) industries. This eye-opening statistic underscores the urgent need for effective plastic management, with recycling set to play a pivotal role.

Plastic Production and Emissions

The process of producing plastic is a major contributor to its carbon footprint, accounting for 60% of its total emissions. Plastic is predominantly made from fossil fuels, with 93% of plastics being derived from these non-renewable resources. Furthermore, a significant 14% of all extracted oil is used in the production of plastic. These figures not only highlight the extensive use of fossil fuels in plastic manufacturing, but also draw attention to the potential emissions reductions achievable through recycling.

Recycling to Lower Emissions

Recycling plastic has a much lower environmental impact compared to producing new plastic. When plastic is recycled, it bypasses the energy-intensive phases of extracting the fossil fuels and producing the virgin materials, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, recycling helps conserve valuable natural resources. For instance, recycling one tonne of plastic can save up to 5,774 kWh of energy, 16.3 barrels of oil, and 22 cubic metres of landfill space.

Despite these benefits, the current recycling rate of plastic is disappointingly low; globally, only 9% of plastic is recycled. The majority of unrecycled plastic ends up in landfills, contributing further to greenhouse gas emissions through decomposition or incineration. Increasing recycling rates can drastically reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste.

Innovations in Plastic Recycling

Recent advancements in plastic recycling technology offer a beacon of hope. Innovations such as enhanced sorting and processing techniques, and the development of new recyclable materials, are making the recycling process more efficient and effective. Such technological advancements not only increase the proportion of recyclable plastic but also improve the quality of recycled products, encouraging their use in a wider range of applications.

Let’s Recycle It’s Perspective

At Let’s Recycle It, we are staunch advocates for recycling, believing it to be the cornerstone of environmental sustainability and ethical plastic use. We understand that recycling is a critical tool in reducing plastic’s carbon footprint, and we are committed to promoting and facilitating effective recycling practices.

We recognise that recycling is not just necessary to protect the environment from plastic pollution, but also as a driving force towards a future in which the vision of a fully circular economy with net zero waste is realised. By integrating recycling and recycled materials into business operations, companies can reduce their carbon footprint, conserve finite natural resources, and generate new streams of revenue.

Furthermore, Let’s Recycle It emphasises the importance of consumer education and participation in recycling initiatives. We understand that effective recycling requires a collective effort, and we strive to empower individuals and communities to make informed decisions about plastic use and disposal.

The fight against the plastic pollution and its environmental impact is multifaceted, involving the reduction of single-use plastic use, the improvement of recycling rates, and the adoption of innovative recycling technologies. Let’s Recycle It is at the forefront of this battle, championing recycling as a key strategy in mitigating the carbon footprint of plastic. We believe in a future where ethical plastic use is the norm, and we are committed to making this vision a reality. 

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