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Recycling Bottled Water

We explore what happens when we don't recycle single-use plastic bottles and what happens when we do to highlight the importance of recycling.

The Importance of Recycling Single-Use Plastic Bottles

Recycling single-use plastic bottles is important to our environment. Recycling requires less non-renewable energy than making new raw materials, producing less waste and pollution. And it helps to conserve natural resources. Despite the many benefits of recycling plastic, plastic waste in landfills and oceans continues to be problematic every year.

This article will look at what happens to our environment when we don't recycle our single-use plastic bottles to show just how important recycling is.

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Do you recycle your plastic bottles?

Plastic bottles are recyclable, but the rates show that many of us fail to take our bottles in to be recycled. According to Recycle Now, England's national recycling programme, 35.8 million plastic bottles are used every day in the United Kingdom, yet only 19.8 million are recycled. When you consider the 2.5 billion coffee cups thrown out in the UK each year, as well as the growing problem of single-use plastic PPE waste, including gloves and masks, it's easy to see why plastic pollution continues to be a problem.

Despite so many fantastic organisations such as the Marine Conversation Society trying to make a difference.

One survey by charity Thames21 found more than 1,600 plastic cups during clean-ups between July and September 2020. Which is twice as many as the same period last year, even though pubs and restaurants were closed between March and early July due to COVID-19 restrictions. As statistics show, we can widely improve our efforts to recycle our plastic.

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What Happens When Plastic Bottles Are Not Recycled?

Plastic bottles are made of a petroleum product called polyethene terephthalate. They can be recycled and reused numerous times. But when plastic bottles are not recycled, it takes over 1000 years to biodegrade in our oceans and landfills, causing pollution that harms plants, animals, and the environment as a whole.

Even if the plastic bottle might eventually break down, the harmful chemicals from the plastic can pollute soil and water sources and potentially cause health problems for humans and animals. As plastic breaks down into microplastics, it may be small enough for fish to absorb the toxins through their gills. The Center of Biological Diversity, fish in the North Pacific ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year, which can cause intestinal injury and death and transfer plastic up the food chain to bigger fish, marine mammals, and human seafood eaters.

Even if these bits of plastic are not consumed through the food chain, they do not disappear. If they're released into an environment with no or little human activity, they can remain in the ecosystem indefinitely. As you see, plastic pollution becomes a huge issue when we don't recycle our single-use plastic bottles.

What Happens When We Do Recycle Plastic Bottles?

Recycling plastic has many incredible benefits on the environment, such as saving energy and reducing waste and pollution. But have you ever wondered what happens to all the recycled plastic and how we can reuse it? Here are some recycling facts.

  • A single plastic bottle recycling can save enough energy to operate a light bulb for three hours or more.
  • If 5 plastic bottles are recycled, it can make enough insulating fibre to fill a ski jacket.
  • Clothing can be made from recycling plastic. 5 plastic bottles can be used to construct a t-shirt, and 25 bottles can make an adult fleece jacket.

What is BRITA Doing to Help?

Since 2016, BRITA UK has collaborated with various partners to help fight against single-use plastic waste and safeguard marine life. As part of this work, BRITA collaborated with Keep Britain Tidy on a series of research projects to examine the structural barriers to individual and corporate involvement in the fight against plastic pollution.

Make Sure You Recycle

Now we have a better understanding of the impact of bottled water on the environment; we can ensure we always recycle our plastic.

In the workplace we can encourage re-using water bottles by providing a mains-fed water dispenser. And as well as recycling your plastic, you can get involved with organisations such as Break Free From Plastic, who are working to reduce plastic consumption.

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