Recycling and Reuse: A Newer and Better Approach to Sustainability
The universal truth is that the well-being of humans is often directly linked to how healthy the environment is. As such, environmental sustainability has become vital. And as with corrugated plastic containers, what better way of upholding that circular efficiency than by recycling and reuse?
Defining Recycling and Reuse
Before venturing into how recycling and reuse play a part in environmental sustainability, it’s necessary to first clearly explain what these terms mean.
Recycling refers to the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be disposed of as trash and turning them into a completely new product.
Reuse, on the other hand, entails taking old things that you may have considered getting rid of and finding a new way of using them.
The most efficient way of reducing waste is not to create it in the first place. Developing a new product usually requires a lot of energy and materials—raw materials need to be extracted from the earth, and the product must be forged then transported to the consumer. Because of this, recycling and reuse are among the most efficient ways of saving money, protecting the environment, and saving natural resources.
Benefits of Recycling and Reuse
Recycling and reuse are now a necessity for businesses, homeowners, and commercial organizations across the US. Apart from reducing the levels of waste produced, here are other benefits accrued from these practices:
- Allows products to be used to their fullest
- Prevents pollution caused by minimizing the need to harvest new raw materials
- Helps save energy by reducing the need to build materials from scratch
- Reduces cost of production during manufacturing
- Cutting climate-changing carbon emissions
- Recycling minimizes incineration: When products are recycled and reused, the amount of trash sent to incineration is reduced.
Among the products that have gained prominence due to them being able to be reused and recycled is corrugated plastic. So, what is it, and is it sustainable? Let’s find out!
What Is Corrugated Plastic?
Corrugated plastic refers to extruded twinwall plastic-sheet products that are produced using high-impact polypropylene resin. Corrugated plastic typically comprises what seems to be three layers—two flat sheets with a ribbed layer. They can also mean sheets of plastic that are wave-like in appearance and may be reinforced using chopped fiberglass. Corrugated plastic can be used for various purposes, including:
- In buildings: It is ideal for storm shutters given that it is 5 times lighter than plywood and 200 times tougher than glass.
- Packaging: Given its flexible, impact-resistant, and versatile nature, corrugated plastic is ideal for building packaging components.
- Signage: It is lightweight and available in a wide range of colors, making it perfect for creating signage.
- Humanitarian relief: This material is ideal for building temporary shelter following disasters such as earthquakes.
How Durable Are Products Made With It? How Long Do They Last?
One of the reasons why corrugated plastic is popular is its durability. The exact duration for a specific application will depend on what it’s being used for and the environmental conditions of the place where it is being used. Most often, they can last around two years, but longer is possible. Also, when used indoors, it can last anywhere between 5 to 20 years, depending on the conditions.
Is It Sustainable?
Corrugated plastic is not only durable, but it’s also recyclable. Its recycling occurs less frequently compared to cardboard, plus it is also reusable. When you’re done using your corrugated plastic sheets, the material is melted down and reformed into other products or a new sheet. As such, corrugated plastic sheets are effective when it comes to upholding environmental sustainability. Besides that, depending on the grade you are using, it can be used to create elegant and strong products.
The main point of this discussion is this—when you are working with high-quality materials and designs, reuse can go on indefinitely. That is the essence of sustainability and of reuse.
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