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Recycling Water Bottles: Does It Matter?

College student Megan Allen, for her class project at Capital University in Ohio, chose to focus on a hot topic on college campuses: bottled water.

Her thesis: Does recycling water bottles make a difference? She began by debunking several myths:

MYTH: Recycling does not impact the environment much and not worth the hassle

TRUTH: Non-recycled bottles clog landfills, waterways, and oceans, and wind up harming aquatic life.

MYTH: There is not a demand for recycling plastic water bottles.

TRUTH: The United States has a huge industry and demand for recycling plastics. The largest bottle-to-bottle facility is located in South Carolina. Here they turn recycled plastic bottles into other plastic bottles.

MYTH: Plastic bottles can only be made into other plastic bottles.

TRUTH: While some bottles are recycled to make new bottles, there are actually a wide variety of new items that can be made using recycled bottles. Such items include decking material, railroad ties, drainage pipes and even carpet.

MYTH: Bottle caps and lids are not recyclable.

TRUTH: These are recyclable too! The caps and lids contain plastic in them which makes them eligible to be recycled into new bottles. However, they can also be made into plastic paint cans or car parts.

While Megan mistakenly lumped in PET with other plastics like PVC and PS that do leach toxins into the environment, she points out in her report the importance of recycling PET to save petroleum, energy and carbon. She notes that  thirty-eight billion bottles end up in landfills each year and only 20-30% of those plastics currently gets recycled, and that recycling 1 ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.

She then praised Greenopolis for our social recycling systems that track materials back to their next use. She went so far as to create the outreach document for Greenopolis below:

We want to praise Megan for her hard work, and encourage others to take up the banner of recycling- plastics, aluminum, compost- all materials. It’s where Megan’s future- and yours- is headed.

About godsdoghowls

I'm Senior Manager for Community Engagement and Development at Greenopolis.com; a hunter and naturalist, rabbinic student and maple sugar maker, husband of Sara and father of 5 terrific children.

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