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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
14
votes
3answers
19k views

Why can't black plastic be recycled?

My local council now takes most types of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays in the recycling bin. But they specifically exclude black plastic containers. Is there a reason for this? Why can't ...
6
votes
1answer
146 views

How to recycle disintegrated plastic bags, without negatively impacting the environment?

We've just gotten some old books out of the loft, and it appears the plastic bags they were in have disintegrated/biodegraded. What is the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of them?
5
votes
1answer
665 views

How does bioplastic recyclability compare with petrochemical-based plastic recyclability?

I am curious to know how recyclable bioplastics are. For example, how recyclable would a polylactic acid (PLA) cup be when compared to a conventional PET cup? Can the material go through a comparable ...
5
votes
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
votes
2answers
625 views

Store drop-off vs curbside recycling plastic bags

The curbside recycling service in my town accepts plastic bags. I wonder whether there is any difference in the recycling process (thus there is any environmental benefit) between this and taking them ...
12
votes
1answer
204 views

Is plastic food packaging 100% reusable?

There is the prominent argument that we should buy food without plastic packaging because plastic is made of oil and thus bad. I'm wondering, however, what if the plastic packaging remains in the ...
6
votes
1answer
960 views

Is there a shaving razor that is an alternative to, say, Gillette Mach 3, and does not use plastic ?

I believe in adopting sustainable practices in our daily or recurring maintenance activities. Recently, I measured the amount of water I spend at the sink and shifted to mug-based shaving (rinsing the ...
10
votes
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
639 views

Does polyethylene film (plastic bags) breakdown chemically?

I'm researching the degradation of polyethylene (PE) plastic films such as in plastic bags, and am trying to figure if they degrade chemically. If so: under what conditions, and into what byproducts. ...
12
votes
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
219 views

Why is hybrid packaging so frequently used to package bread?

With hybrid packaging I refer to the combined packaging of plastic and paper. They are often offered by supermarkets for consumers to put inside fresh bread and buns. The reasons I can imagine for ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
286 views

Recycling plastic food tubs that have no resin identification code?

In my local council (I live in the UK), one category of confirmed recyclables is "plastic bottles, pots, tubs & trays". But surely not all plastic tubs can be recycled? Some of the plastic tubs I ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a way to melt down plastic lenses used for eyewear?

I'm looking to recycle used eyewear plastic lenses for a sculpture. I want to try to manipulate the plastic to give it a more organic look. I'm also concerned about toxic fumes, so I want to find the ...
12
votes
1answer
192 views

What chemicals are used to replace BPA in plastics?

And is there any reason to think that the replacement is any better than Bisphenol A (BPA) itself?
10
votes
2answers
12k views

Can plastic with only the Japanese recycling symbol be recycled in the US?

I bought a vacuum cleaner that came wrapped in several plastic bags. The bags only have one recycling code printed on them, the Japanese pura māku: Can these bags be recycled with ♴ or ♶ plastic film ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Would it be possible to recycle all plastic into bricks and use them for building or insulation?

I've had this idea for a few years and wonder if it would be feasible. Rather than simply recycling bottles and bags in blue bins, if there could be a way to melt down all types of plastic and mold ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

When are manufacturers required to mark products and packaging with recycling codes?

I just purchased a consumer product. It was packaged in a clear plastic 'disposable' container. This shipping container is not marked in any way. There is no material designation or recycling code ...
6
votes
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
21k views

Do #4 (♶ LDPE) plastic bags need to be recycled at grocery stores like #2 (♴ HDPE) plastic bags?

Many recycling programs don't accept #2 (♴ - high-density polyethylene - HDPE) plastic bags (only #2 rigid plastic). Does the same apply to #4 (♶ - low-density polyethylene - LDPE) plastic? I've ...
5
votes
1answer
93 views

Where can I recycle plastic caps in the US?

The city recycling bins in Denver don't allow plastic caps but some other cities do so it is possible to recycle them. Does anyone have any ideas where or how I could recycle the caps?
17
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

How safe it is to produce, use, and dispose of PVC?

Environmental benefits of PVC are touted on what appears to be an industry funded website but there is also some serious criticism of PVC claiming that the manufacture produces dioxin and that ...
6
votes
3answers
491 views

What does it take to stop the use of plastic bags in big grocery stores?

Many people do their weekly groceries at large supermarkets and consume a lot of plastic bags. However, given the fact that I already know that I am going to buy a-week worth of food and supplies what ...
9
votes
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
votes
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it good to decompose plastic waste by burning?

Most of the people say its not good to decompose plastic materials by burning, but anyway it has to be decomposed after its use. Is it safe to burn plastics? If not how can we decompose plastic ...
14
votes
5answers
991 views

How to store plastic bags for easy access?

I bring some plastic bags to my flat almost everyday. I do not throw them out, instead I reuse them on a daily basis until they wear out. But I have a problem organising them and I am yet to find a ...
18
votes
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
259 views

For dog owners, what do you use to pick up after your dog on walks?

Since we use reusable bags now, we don't have many disposable plastic bags to use in cleaning up after our dogs. This isn't really a problem in the yard, but what is the easiest way to pick up after ...
12
votes
2answers
97 views

Small scale deployment of the ocean cleanup project

The Ocean Cleanup Project aims to collect floating plastic from the oceans. By having static "sea water processors" filter the water. Are there any existing small scale deployments of this idea, i.e ...
12
votes
3answers
158 views

Reusing buckets for flower pots?

Is reusing old food buckets as flower pots actually a good sustainability practice or a bad one since I'm ruining good buckets by poking holes in the bottoms? I get the buckets for free from my ...
7
votes
1answer
752 views

Storing whole chickens without plastic?

Inspired by this comment: Try to replace [ziplock bags] with something else, and reuse the ones you have until they fall apart. I haven't used ziplock bags in over 5 years and haven't missed them. –...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Should I reuse or recycle Ziploc bags?

I'm wondering whether I should wash and reuse my Ziploc bags or if it makes more ecological sense to bring them to a grocery store plastic recycling collection bin. Ideally at home we wash the bags ...
11
votes
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 ...
46
votes
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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
15
votes
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 ...
15
votes
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 ...

1
2