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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48 votes
5 answers
260k 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 ...
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17 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
15 votes
1 answer
220 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 ...
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13 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
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14 votes
1 answer
706 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 ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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11 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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7 votes
2 answers
648 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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
100 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 ...
18 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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16 votes
2 answers
913 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 ...
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15 votes
1 answer
410 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 ...
12 votes
1 answer
238 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 ...
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11 votes
2 answers
188 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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
991 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 ...
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5 votes
4 answers
705 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 ...
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5 votes
2 answers
827 views

What is the most sustainable packaging for milk?

When buying milk, there are three forms of available packaging: plastic containers, TetraPak, and glass bottles. None of these forms of packaging are optimal - plastic containers are single-use, ...
4 votes
2 answers
92 views

Should I use a plastic trash bag for my recycling bin at home or not?

I want to have a recycling bin at home in addition to a trash bin. Should I line my recycling bin with a trash bag and bag it up when it's full to toss in the dumpster's recycling bin? Or should I ...
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3 votes
0 answers
70 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
104 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are crisp packets made from?

What are crisp packets made from, specifically Tyrrells or Walkers. I am doing a school project on single use plastic crisp packets. I am finding it difficult to find information online.
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