The Shocking Things That Happen When You Don’t Recycle Old Plastic

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About 1 billion plastic bags are given out each and every day, however, only about 1 percent are being recycled. To minimize the number of plastic bags, some cities have placed a surcharge or tax on them and some cities have banned them outright. Consumers are being encouraged to provide their own paper or cloth shopping bags which will help over time.

But what happens when plastic is simply dumped into landfills along with other waste? Without recycling, plastic cannot be reworked or reused and this means that new plastic will be made. This requires even more natural resources and a bigger impact on the environment.

First off, landfills are literally filling up faster and faster each year, much of this due to plastic use. In 1960, only about 1 percent of all municipal waste was made up of plastic. In 2007, that number jumped to 12 percent or 31 million tons of plastic. One plastic bag takes about 1,000 years to decompose. That is crazy considering how thin those bags are.

Another issue is most of the garbage and trash you find in streets, buses, subways, and other public venues are plastic. This litter costs huge amounts of money to clean up and send off to recycling centers. Discarded plastic, such as bags, frequently end up in our oceans and cause the death of hundreds, if not thousands, of whales, sea turtles and fish. Even on land, cows, goats, and pigs eat plastic pieces or plastic bags thinking they are food. They die agonizing deaths all because someone couldn’t be bothered to put something in the recycling bin.


READ ALSO: 30 Creative Ways to Use Less Plastic and Go Green!


If your community does not support curbside recycling, or if they have only accepted a small amount of plastic or a small variety of plastics, you can locate numerous recycling centers using Earth 911. This site can locate the nearest recycling center so you can dispose of your plastic safely and feel good about what you are doing for your fellow man, Mother Earth, and every living creature on this planet.

Don’t litter and don’t throw plastic (or anything that can be recycled) in with the regular garbage.


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