How To Recycle Plastic Bottles

More and more people are concerned about saving our precious natural resources and are interested in doing their part by participating in recycling programs.  Recycling helps reduce the amount of waste we dispose of in our landfills and goes a long way toward protecting our planet.

Recycling refers to the process of reusing or repurposing old or used materials into new products or other new purposes.   Some of the most common recyclable materials include metal, glass, textiles, paper and plastic.  Let’s take a closer look at recycling plastic bottles.

Plastic is a material that has become a common fixture of our daily lives.  We use plastic in many different ways.  Plastic is a non-biodegradable product and will stay for years if thrown into our landfills.  It is estimated that as many as 40 billion plastic bottles are produced in the United States alone each year. Most of these bottles are thrown away as soon as they are used.  Some of these carelessly discarded plastic bottles wind up in our rivers, streams and oceans where they will kill or harm as many as a million sea creatures each year.

Conservationists and recycling advocates stress that recycling items like plastic can help save the environment.  Recycling plastic bottles will help keep these valuable materials out of the landfills and will help reduce emissions and energy use.

Recycled plastic bottles are a valuable resource which can be adapted to many uses.  Depending on the type plastic, they can be made into new containers, car parts, carpeting, fiberfill for clothing, kitchenware, plastic lumber and playground equipment, etc.

Here are a few tips for recycling your plastic bottles at home:

On the bottom of a plastic bottle is a number in a triangle.  This number indicates the plastic bottle’s process number.  You will need to check the recycling programs in your community to see what numbers on the plastic bottles are acceptable for recycling.  Some areas do not have facilities for recycling certain types of plastic.

It is a nice idea to wash or rinse your bottles before either taking them to a recycle center or putting them out for curbside pickup.  If you are recycling a bottle with a pump such as a lotion bottle remove the pump and throw it away.  The pump is not recyclable.

Follow the instructions in your community with regard to disposing of plastic bottles.  You may need to drop off bottles for recycling at a recycle center or you may have curb-side pickup for the recyclables.

Some states will pay a few cents refund if you return your empty plastic bottles for recycling to the proper center.  Some areas have a local bottle bank where you can take the bottles for refund.

Many people are now doing their part to help keep the planet clean and healthy and hopefully help avoid environmental disasters.  We can all do our part to help protect the planet and our backyards are the best place to start.  As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.”