Questions tagged [plastic]

A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids that are moldable. They are usually synthetic, most commonly derived from petrochemicals, but many are partially natural.

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17
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1answer
1k views

Which compostable plastic types can be composted at home?

There often is confusion about compostable plastics (see for example this question on greenware items or this gardening question on plastic bags). 'Compostable' suggests that you can compost the ...
46
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5answers
220k views

Can I recycle plastics at home by melting and molding?

I would like to know if it is possible to recycle plastic at home by melting and molding. Is it at all possible? What technique or technology do I need? Can it be done with any plastic? Are there ...
15
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1answer
186 views

Does transporting plastic offset the benefits of recycling it?

Apparently China has been processing about half the world's waste until this year, and most of that waste is transported over the ocean in large container ships. Recycling plastic uses less energy and ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Why do we think of biodegradable plastic as recycled and sustainable?

I look at the questions here and see what is taught to us by the mainstream propaganda: non-degradable plastic is unsustainable and, thus, we must prefer the biodegradable one. But let us consider the ...
11
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1answer
6k views

How can I tell biodegradable plastic bags apart from non-biodegradable?

I keep a lot of my stuff organized in normal disposable plastic bags I have left after shopping at various markets. And it works fine, except after a couple years I often find a bag in shreds, simply ...
10
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1answer
1k views

How bad are nylon and polyester clothing for the environment?

A few weeks ago I heard a news story about new research that found that polyester clothing is more of an environmental concern than previously thought. The reason for this is that each time you wash ...
6
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1answer
565 views

Pure Plastic vs Biodegradable Plastic

I've been reading around (here, here, here and here) and I can't really find an answer to this question: is it better to throw, for example, dog poop, inside a pure plastic bag or use biodegradable ...
6
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1answer
4k views

In general, is cardboard with a plastic coating acceptable for recycling?

Many children's toys and other items come with a box or package made of cardboard with a thin plastic coating. How does this affect the recycling process? Can paper recycling facilities generally ...
1
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2answers
85 views

Paper packaging once a day or plastic every second day?

I buy a lot of cottage cheese. There are two kinds of packagings available: paper wrappings, which I buy one piece a day plastic bag, of which one pack is enough for two days Assuming that I can't ...
15
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2answers
510 views

What are the downsides to so called greenware items?

Greenware is the brand name of a 100% corn based cups produced by Fabri-Kal. It is used to provide a plastic cup that can be composted. I'm wondering what externalities might exist for this product ...
12
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1answer
323 views

Removing agricultural plastic film waste after 10+ years degradation

[reposted from Earth Science since more relevant here] I am at a farm where previous tenants left a non-biodegradable plastic film roughly 10-15 years ago. It is inconsistently spread over a few ...
12
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1answer
212 views

Which plastics should I avoid and what qualities of plastics are important to consider?

I see a lot of DIY projects that use various plastics, even projects with a focus on sustainable processes and methods. Is the use of plastic contrary to the idea of sustainability entirely? Are ...
11
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2answers
180 views

How do I calculate if it is more sustainable to have my groceries delivered?

I have been wondering recently whether having my groceries delivered is a net ecological benefit or not. It is highly likely that the overall environmental impact of the diesel used to delivery my ...
5
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4answers
636 views

What will be the effect of PET-eating bacteria in society?

In a very recent paper scientists talk about the discovery of a bacterium ("Ideonella sakaiensis") which can "eat" PET, one of the most common types of plastic. I was wondering what effect this ...
5
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1answer
914 views

What are the five most widely used consumer products made of recycled plastic?

By most widely used I mean in terms of sales annually (worldwide). With consumer products I follow the definition found on the BusinessDictionary, referring to merchandise or other item of common or ...
18
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3answers
1k views

Does waste in public recycle bins (almost) always get recycled?

Dumping recyclable cups (when you forgot your own, or it's dirty) in the public recycle bins seems like an easy decision. But, I've noticed that the recycle bins at places like Starbucks are ...
15
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1answer
391 views

What percentage of plastic drinking bottles is recycled after use, worldwide?

I often hear that, although plastic bottles can be recycled quite efficiently, only a percentage of them gets effectively recycled. I have heard about shipments to Africa to pile them up without a ...
13
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2answers
1k views

How many times do you need to use a cheap re-usable bag to offset its impact?

An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal argues that many re-usable grocery bags are made using more oil than old-fashioned "single-use" plastic grocery bags. This makes sense, as quite a bit more ...
3
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0answers
60 views

Is burning PVC with municipal waste 'acceptable' nowadays?

I started to write a comment under the question Is there an efficient way to dispose of credit cards? about the dangers of burning PVC, because this can lead to dangerous chlorine compounds in the ...
3
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1answer
84 views

Is there an efficient way to dispose of credit cards?

I have about 10 credit cards which I ended up not using for various reasons and I feel bad for having to throw them away in the trash, this is the case for many other things, but seems quite ...