Recycling PP #5 plastic containers
For some years now, I have been recycling a ‘PP #5’ plastic container into 5 types of product.
1. construction material
2. soil / plant housing
3. light / sound technology housing
4. 3D printer filament
5. art / craft material
* I have documented and completed extensive experiments with a variety of conditions and variables, where the product holds its own and is perfectly recyclable.
* The product is labelled ‘DO NOT REUSE CONTAINER’, yet its recycled applications (mentioned above) do not harm humans or the environment in any way, shape, form or manner.
* As far as I can tell once the contents of the product is used, the containers are available world-wide for free. Outlets world-wide simply throw them into the bin destined for landfill.
* The myriad of manufacturers that supply this product to other manufacturers and outlets can ship a minimum rate of 20,000 containers per day, (this is per manufacturer)
* Since the beginning of its production, this product continues to be directly placed into landfill with particles ultimately contaminating our waterways and oceans.
* In Australia alone, a conservative 70,000 of these containers are disposed of directly into landfill per week, thats 3,640,000 containers per year (our population is only 24 million people).
* The only information I could find regarding recycling for the product was in the form of a manufacturers safety data sheet – stating:
‘If possible material and its container should be recycled. If material or container cannot be recycled, dispose in accordance with local, regional, national and international Regulations.’
* As far as types of plastics go, its qualities possess those similar to the half-life of an isotope!
Compared to other countries, Australia is low in number and predominantly a coastal dwelling population. I have searched the interwebs high and low yet estimates of this wasted resource world-wide have not yet been gathered?
Based on consumer population for other countries – perhaps we can begin to appreciate a possible broader picture of this issue…
USA population 323 million – conservative estimate, at least 13 times the amount of Australia’s waste = 910,000 containers per week, 47,320,000 containers per year.
Europe population 743 million – conservative estimate, at least 30 times the amount of Australia’s waste = 2,100,000 containers per week, 109,200,000 containers per year.
India population 1.324 billion – conservative estimate, at least 55 times the amount of Australia’s waste = 3,850,000 containers per week, 200,200,000 containers per year.
China population 1.379 billion – conservative estimate at least 57 times the amount of Australia’s waste = 3,990,000 containers per week, 207,480,000 containers per year.
We could say (conservatively) these above 4 regions plus Australia are contributing to placing 10,920,000 containers (over 10 million containers) into landfill each week = 567,840,000 containers (over half a trillion containers) into landfill each year.
(Apologies for the doom and gloom appraisal, I’m not sure if this is anywhere near accurate?)
* In just a 50km radius from where I live, there are well over 100 outlets throwing these containers into their rubbish bins daily and the cost of collecting them is equivalent to spending 6 x 8 hour days per week. I have tried, but I cannot do this alone.
* Disappointingly, with the few outlets where I have placed collection bins, some of the staff regularly continue to neglect the recycling regime, regardless of trying to ‘educate’ them.
* Ultimately I cannot afford the time or finances in reaching every outlet regularly and the proprietors of these businesses do not see storing / collecting these containers as any sort of priority – ’we lack the space so its easier to just throw them in the bin, like we’ve always done’.
I asked myself, should I just keep doing what I have been doing and continue at snail’s pace or decide to somehow hold the outlets and / or the manufactures of said containers accountable for their lack of responsibility / interest in recycling?
* Do I contact the manufacturers and outlets formally?
* Will it even matter, will they care?
– how does one go about this?
– do I ask them to provide reliable ‘collective / grouped’ collection points?
– can this be achieved country-wide, world-wide?
– circumvent manufacturers / outlets and apply to governments for direction?
– embark upon developing media campaigns, youtube, twitter, facebook, etc?
– will any of these options possibly risk access to completing my current recycling processes?
– is it simply an optimistic saying or can one person with a good idea really make a difference?
Please forgive me if this information and questioning is inappropriate for the forum. I would appreciate assistance in knowing where to go with this. Additionally, I am not at liberty to disclose details of the manufacturers or outlets, nor describe the container other than it is made of PP #5 plastic. (see attached images)
As I have mentioned previously the resource is in complete abundance world-wide, extremely practical and largely overlooked as such. I am sure sooner or later simply because of its enormity, someone will take financial advantage of this circumstance.
I only hope it is for the better.
My eyes lit up when I saw that amongst other things you are producing 3d printer filament. So far I haven’t come across anyone else who has successfully managed this, and as I am getting into 3d printing this was one of the main reasons I am looking at various extrusion methods. Would you be willing to share some information/pictures on how you have managed this. Many thanks
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