Today I visited the Material Recovery Facility (A.K.A the MRF) in Boracay. The facility was filled with: glass bottles, plastic bags, containers, grinding machines, up – cycled “concrete” – looking blocks and piles of cans. Some of their walls were built up with patterned and recycled glass bottles (pretty cool ~__^). On our way to one of the other facilities in the MRF, they, the employees, were explaining that the floor we were currently stepping on was constructed of glass and other materials that they’ve jumbled up together. They showed us their grinding machine where they just toss some glass objects at the top and the glass they’ve tossed, at the top, gets pooped out all cut and broken into small bits. One of the employees even stepped on the newly shattered glass explaining that it is safe. The facility even converts plastic bags into these cement blocks!
We’ve all seen plastic at least once in our life. Right? Plastic is cheap, affordable, lightweight and a lot more things. Who wouldn’t want to use plastic? We’ve seen plastic used as bags, containers, toys, chairs, cups, utensils and even gum (which is made of synthetic rubber, A.K.A plastic!). But, did you know that plastics take as much as 450 to 1000 years to biodegrade?! Yes, it is a bad thing. Can you imagine our earth slowly being crowded with plastics? Oh, wait, our earth won’t necessarily be crowded by plastics as our animals such as whales, sea turtles (which mistake plastics for jellyfish), birds and probably all other animals mistakenly take in plastic as food and lessen the plastic in our oceans.
This is how it works:
- Animals see the plastic, Animals eat the plastic
- Unfortunately, plastic cannot be digested and stays in the animal’s stomach
- When the plastic rests and decomp- wait, it will probably take few hundred years before the decomposition of the plastic, the animals gets fooled and doesn’t eat anything as it thinks it’s full
- The animal eventually starves itself without even knowing! That just sounds terrible. Starving but full?
Aside from animals being starved to death by these plastics which linger around in our oceans, streets, flying around through the air and wrapped around our hands for the next time we go grocery, they also affect animals by choking them. There are countless birds, turtles and whales which get washed up to the shore close to death. We have been able to save a few birds which get tangled up with plastics, chocking. There were a scan and autopsy of a whale they found, and their news was that the whole stomach was filled with a hill of plastic. We have to stop this. We have to spread the word.
We do have an upper hand, though. Most plastics have a small label with a number surrounded by arrows which usually represents what type of plastic it is made of and how safe and dangerous it can be.
*runs down to check plastic bottles* Heh ^__~
I rummaged through our pantry and noticed that most of the products that we’ve bought have the number 1. Interesting.
*runs back up*
Below are the 7 types of plastics and its corresponding names and it’s description on it’s “pros and cons”:
PET OR PETE (BUT MORE COMMONLY LABELLED PETE) | 1
Polyethene terephthalate (PET or PETE) bottles are the most common plastic container in use for soft drinks, juice, peanut butter, salad dressing, ketchup and water. The number on the recycling icon identifies all bottles in this category. Currently, the American Chemistry Council states that is okay to reuse these bottles, after washing them. EcoVillage Green notes many PET bottles are difficult to clean and may leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals when exposed to high temperatures. Most manufacturers intend for consumers to use each bottle once, so more research will determine if consumers can safely reuse one-time-use bottles.
So, technically, this type of plastic is known worldwide that it cannot ever be biodegraded. These plastics will stay on this earth till the end of time according to scientist and researchers. But, there are hundreds of people out there finding solutions to fix this big problem. The thing is, most plastics labelled PET/PETE or the arrow surrounded 1 is supposedly “recyclable and reusable”. According to Livestrong (or the paragraph up there), most manufacturers intend for consumers to use each bottle one time. Unfortunately, I haven’t come across one that has a sign saying “use this plastic once” or “clean thoroughly as this plastic can release heavy metals leading to hormonal imbalance”. Apparently, there’s hope! There was a group of Japanese scientists who found a type of bacteria that eats the kind of material that plastic is made of. This will be world changing.|
HDP OR HDPE | 2
According to the wimp, HDPE plastic is the stiffer plastic used in milk gallon jugs, detergent bottles, and some toys and plastic bags. HDPE releases very few chemicals, and experts recommend trying to get water bottles made of this plastic as it’s the safest one.
A bottle I found in our house, which was from NYC, was made of HDP/HDPE. While we manufacture who knows how much a day plastics, I think the best idea is to make them all out of this sturdy and “safe” (according to scientists) kind of plastic. I mean they’ve already admitted that PET/PETE isn’t such a safe kind of plastic, and since no one has found a way, yet, to make the PET/PETE plastic more human friendly, they should replace everything with HDP/HDPE so that even though we have a lot of plastics we can be assured that we are somewhat safe from it. It meaning plastic.|
PVC OR 3V OR V | 3
PVC is a flexible plastic used to make food wrapping, teething rings, toys for pets and children, and bottles of cooking oil. It releases two toxic chemicals which can potentially cause hormonal imbalances. Experts recommend finding an alternative if possible.
|What I think:
I don’t know how to tell you guys how many times I’ve done a research on PVC but what I can tell you is that I still get surprised on how PVC affects us, in a bad way.|
LDPE | 4
You will often find low-density polyethene (LDPE) plastic in packaging for bread wrappers and frozen food, plastic wraps for food storage, grocery bags and trash bags. This category of plastic is safe to reuse, within reason. Consider the original purpose of the packaging before you use it to preserve or store food. These plastics are thin films that are lighter weight than other categories of plastic so they can melt or emit toxic chemicals if exposed to high temperatures, including the microwave.
PP | 5
Manufacturers use polypropylene (PP) plastic for some toys, baby bottles, drinking straws, syrup, yoghurt, margarine and deli soup containers. The current research does not show any evidence that this category of plastic leaches harmful chemicals.
This sounds like a pretty good type of plastic. Apparently, this type of plastic is great at avoiding grease, moisture and chemicals! I had a problem before with my dog when I left her a bowl (made of plastic) of water, then after a day or so I started to notice moulds starting to surround her bowl. This is dangerous for dogs btw!|
PS | 6
Polystyrene is a cheap, lightweight plastic that can be used in a manner of ways. It’s usually found in disposable styrofoam drinking cups, egg cartons, takeout containers, and plastic utensils. When heated, it can release carcinogenic substances. It is meant to be disposable and is not suitable for repeated use.Polystyrene is a cheap, lightweight plastic that can be used in a manner of ways. It’s usually found in disposable styrofoam drinking cups, egg cartons, takeout containers, and plastic utensils. When heated, it can release carcinogenic substances. It is meant to be disposable and is not suitable for repeated use.
|Source for this one is thewimp.com|
PC OR UNLABELLED | 7
This is likely the most dangerous category of plastics as it was designed as a sort of catch-all other uncategorised plastics. These plastics can leach a lot of chemicals into food and beverages and should be avoided whenever possible.
Some Countries, such as US, England, Mexico, India, Burma, Bangladesh, and Australia are starting to realise the terrible mistake of even introducing plastic. The reason to why people “prefer” plastic or like using it is because its cheap, its light and probably has countless uses. But, if we want to help out our planet, our animals and even ourselves then we should find a way to stop this world problem. An example, in France there are no plastic bags, it’s either you bring your own trolley or you buy a paper bag. You need to find a way to implement this where you live. And, as always, spread the word to the world.