Essay on Plastic : Unnecessary Plastic Waste

1473 Words Oct 20th, 2016 6 Pages
Unnecessary Plastic Waste Plastic as it is known today is a relatively modern invention. The first major breakthrough for a semi-synthetic plastic material occurred in the late 1850’s but with complete disregard to the effects it would have on the environment. By the mid 1900’s multiple types of plastics had been invented, however due to the large molecular construction of plastics, biodegradability was not possible nor was melting the different plastics together, resulting in the plastics being sent to landfills and waste facilities. Recognizing the effects that the plastic waste was having on the environment, in 1988 the Society of Plastics Industry established a classification system, now called SPI codes, which separated the plastics based on their chemical properties so an industrial process could be established for transforming discarded plastic into useful materials. Recycling plastics here in the United State can provide excellent benefits, however, plastics must first undergo a costly and complex, multistep process which includes sorting, separating, cutting, washing, drying and finally melting the plastic down before it can be reused and recycled into a new product. When plastic materials arrive at a waste facility it must first be sorted into the established classification of the plastic, known as the SPI code. Plastics marked with an SPI code 1 are made with polyethylene terephthalate, known as PET or PETE, and are commonly recycled. PETE-based containers are…

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