Plastic Bottles Aren't Trash
September 2015 is Clean-up SA month. How can we as individuals help during this month and thereafter to keep our country clean?
There will be many special events during that period, during which you can participate in public clean-up actions. For instance, 19 September will be International Coastal Clean-up Day, when the focus will be on our beaches and surrounding areas.
But this month also gives us the opportunity to start new good habits relating to recycling those packaging and other materials that can be used again as a technical nutrient for a new product instead of going to landfill. From 14 to 20 September it will be Clean-up and Recycle week, with the highlight being Recycling Day on 18 September. The aim of this day is to make people aware that recycling benefits our families and communities.
You could help during the clean-up campaigns in September to recover some of the valuable materials – notably packaging materials - that others have treated as trash, but which can be recycled and made into new items. You could also participate by starting new recycling habits at home – or if you are already doing that, to encourage others to recycle more of the valuable materials that are often thrown away rather than being re-used.
Just take plastic packaging for example, Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is used to make many items including beverage bottles, containers for food items, as well as bottles for household, personal care and pharmaceutical products. It is also used in sheet and film for other packaging.
Importantly, this versatile material is 100% recyclable. PET bottles are made of one of the few polymers that can be recycled into the same form – a new beverage bottle – again. This neatly closes the ‘recycling loop’. A used PET beverage is a valuable resource that can be recycled over and over again and turned into polyester staple fibre or resin for clothes, pillows, duvet inners, carpets for cars and a host of other useful products – especially those new beverage bottles.
During the past 10 years, the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) has made significant progress in PET collection and recycling: half of all used PET bottles are now being recycled and reused.
During clean-up month you could help by:
- Joining one of the many public clean-up campaigns
- Ensuring that you recycle at home and encourage others to do so as well
- Donating time at a recycling centre at your nearest school or community recycling project
- Visiting mywaste.co.za to find the closest collection point to drop off your PET and other packaging for recycling
- Visiting recyclingday-sa.co.za for more information about Recycling Day
- Visiting petco.co.za (email email@example.com) for more information about recycling PET beverage bottles