In case you don’t know, recycling is integral to our business at Pink Bins. I haven’t discussed recycling for a while, so in this post, I thought I’d revisit the subject.
Recently, researchers discovered a 2.5 million-square-meter island of plastic in the South Pacific—most of the waste originated from ‘clean and green’ New Zealand. According to a study, researchers counted 38 million items of rubbish (most of it plastic) on Henderson Island, also in the South Pacific.
Mountains of plastic are ugly. However, what is most concerning is the effect plastic has on the environment.
Globally, plastic pollution harms at least 267 species of marine life, including fish, seabirds, turtles and mammals. Why? Well, to marine creatures, plastic bags swishing about in the ocean look like food.
Here’s an example of what is happening: In 2010, a whale lay dead on the beach at Puget Sound. What was the cause of death? Perhaps the pair of trousers, golf ball, towels, duct tape, surgical glove and, you guessed right, 20 plastic bags found in its stomach had something to do with it?
Plastic never goes away
Unlike materials like timber and cardboard, plastic doesn’t rot and break down. You may be shocked to learn that some plastic bottles will take as long as a thousand years to decompose. When they finally do, toxic chemicals contaminate the ground.
What can you do about it?
Thankfully, there is plenty you can do to ensure you are not part of the problem. Here are some suggestions:
- Use reusable shopping bags: When out shopping and the person behind the counter asks if you’d like a plastic bag for your purchase, say “no thanks.” How many times have you bought something and not actually needed a bag? Plenty, I’m sure. Alternatively, carry around a reusable shopping bag.
- Be selective about what you buy: If you’re serious about reducing your footprint on the environment, you can choose products with minimal packaging. Also, how about buying in bulk?
- Recycle: The types of plastic recycled in New Zealand include HDPE (milk containers), PET (soft drink bottles) and plastic industrial strapping, so make sure you put them in the recycling bin. Until recently, you couldn’t recycle plastic bags — they ended up in a landfill. However, this has changed, and you can now drop off your plastic bags at collection centres. Check out this link to find a collection centre near you.