Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Recycling of Plastics: The Price of Cheap

The inventor of plastic products could not have foreseen the repercussions of his creation. Landfills across Europe are filling up, and our landfills here aren't looking too good either. We need to find a way to recycle the plastic we consume, since limiting the levels of consumption is out of the question.

The recycling of plastics seems logical, but it is still an issue that is causing great controversy. One of the biggest arguments against the recycling of this material is that virgin plastic is cheap, and remaking it into reusable material is expensive. The cost of this manufacturing would cause a level of accountability to those producing and consuming the plastic in the first place. But the producers and users of plastic don't want to be held accountable for what they're doing to destroy the planet if it means it will cost them something.

Some in the plastics industry argue that it would be better to just burn the plastic and use the heat energy provided. It sounds logical, since we already use energy from burning other forms of fossil fuel such as oil. This argument sounds viable as well, since the presence of plastic makes other garbage burn cleaner. One thing is wrong with this argument, however. The burning of some plastics, such as PVC, lets a number of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. With current events pointing to the destruction caused by global warming, the last thing we need is to put more toxins into the air.

All we can hope for is that the majority of the developed countries, and undeveloped countries, will follow the benefits that recycling plastics bring.

'The Recycling of Plastics is a Controversial Issue.' Baird, Colin. Chemistry in Your Life. W.H. Freeman and Company. New York: 2006. pgs. 190-191.

No comments:

Post a Comment