Why recycling your personal care product packaging is important.
Recycling is the process of taking materials and restructuring them with a
process that allows the recycling industry to use their matter for the
purpose of redesigning and remanufacturing a new product.
It is important to recycle because it relieves some of the burden of storing
waste matter. It's important to recycle because it decreases the level of
carbon atoms that are emitted into the atmosphere due to burning garbage.
After a study conducted by the Oberlin College
Recycling Program of
Ohio, the following data was gathered:
* Every year our United States plastics industry makes enough plastic
film to shrink-wrap Texas.
* Americans go through 2.5 million plastic bottles a year.
* 26 recycled PET bottles can make a polyester suite.
In 1988 we used 2 billion pounds of HDPE just to make bottles for household
products (this includes personal care products). That's about the weight of
90,000 Honda Civics.
* If every American household recycled just one out of every ten HDPE
bottles they used, we'd keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills
* Each of us uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in
paper and wood products per year. (EPA,
* More than 56 percent of the paper consumed in the U.S. during 2007 was
recovered for recycling - an all-time high. This impressive figure equals
nearly 360 pounds of paper for each man, woman, and child in America. (Paper
Association Council, 2007)
* More than 400 paper mills in the United States use at least some
recovered materials in their manufacturing processes, and more than 200 of
those mills use recovered fiber exclusively. (EPA,
* Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of
water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100
kilowatt-hours of electricity - enough energy to power the average American
home for five months. (EPA,
* Recycling paper instead of making it from new material generates 74
percent less air pollution and uses 50 percent less water. (EPA,
* Americans throw away enough glass bottles and jars every two weeks to
fill the 1.350-foot towers of the former World Trade Center.
* Most bottles and jars contain at least 25% recycled glass.
* Glass never wears out -- it can be recycled forever. We save over a
ton of resources for every ton of glass recycled -- 1,330 pounds of sand,
433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar.
* States with bottle deposit laws have 35-40% less litter by volume.
* The steel industry's annual recycling saves the equivalent energy to
electrically power about 18 million households for a year. Every time a ton
of steel is recycled, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1000 pounds of coal and 40
pounds of limestone is preserved.
* Every day Americans use enough steel and tin cans to make a steel pipe
running from Los Angeles to New York... and back. If we only recycle
one-tenth of the cans we now throw away, we'd save about 3.2 billion of them
So, what is our excuse for not being more conscious of recycling our waste?
Perhaps it's not that we don't want to recycle but rather whether it's
convenient to recycle. Or, whether we are knowledgeable about what
materials can be recycled.
To bring further clarity around recyclable materials, we have outlined a
breakdown of some of the most commonly used materials in our household and
personal care product packaging. The information below is provided by
Sks.com, a well know distributor of containers and source of some of Butter
By Keba's product packaging.
There are six basic types of plastics used today across a vast range of
manufacturing industries, PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP and PS. The most
commonly used plastic material compounds of our household and personal care
products are PET, HDPE and PVC.
PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate
is generally clear, tough and a good barrier to gas and moisture. PET also
has a good resistance to heat. It is typically used for personal care
product packaging, beverage packaging and a host of other daily household
PET can be identified easily by locating its recycling code symbol . It is
often recycled into many other products besides bottles and jars. Other
recycled PET products include ski coat fibers, fleece vest as well as
sleeping bag lining. PET has been used for more then just bottles throughout
the years. During WWII it was used as a coating for underwater cables. PET
lightweight nature made it a great material to use to insulate radars, which
helped to reduce the weight of the radars.
HDPE or High Density Polyethylene
is a high density version of polyethylene (PE). It is harder and stronger as
well slightly heavier then LDPE and PE.
It is used for many packaging applications because it has excellent moisture
barrier properties as well it is lightweight and flexible. HDPE plastic has
good resistance to chemicals which is why it is commonly used to package
many household and industrial cleaning products including detergents,
bleaches, and acids.
HDPE is found in many forms such as film, blow molded bottles, and injection
molding. In film form HDPE is used in snack food packaging as well as cereal
box liners. In blow molded bottle form, HDPE is used for milk and
non-carbonated beverage bottles. In injection molded tub form HDPE is used
to produce packaging for margarine, whipped toppings and deli foods.
HDPE plastics are also recyclable and are usually stamped with a recycle
symbol with the number 2 in the middle.
PVC(Polyvinyl Chloride) is a
transparent material with chemical resistance, long-term stability and good
stable electrical properties. Flexible PVC is used for such items as wire,
cable sheathing insulation, film, floor covering, synthetic leathers and
Natural Glass- Unlike plastic
glass was not invented but rather has advanced over time. Although most of
the glass we find is manmade, glass can still be found in nature. Natural
glass is the result of certain types of rocks being heated to a high
temperature by way of lighting, meteorites, or volcanic eruptions and then
cooling rapidly without the formation of crystals. Obsidian is a volcanic
glass that may be clear, black, brown or even green in color. Obsidian is
formed by rapidly cooled lava. The earliest use of obsidian was for knives,
spear tips and jewelry. The history of glass
can be traced back to at
least 12,000 BC where glass coated object have been found. (www.sks.com
Glass is a mixture of sand, soda and lime, heated to a high temperature
until the materials become a liquid, known as molten. Once the materials are
combined in a liquid molten the mixture is then cooled to a ridged condition
Glass is often described as an amorphous solid; a solid is a ridged material
that does not flow when subjected to moderate forces. A material is
amorphous when its molecules have no regularity in their arrangement on a
scale larger then a few times the size of the molecular constituents.
Once again, as stated earlier by the Oberlin College Recycling Program,
glass never wears out -- it can be recycled forever. We save over a ton of
resources for every ton of glass recycled -- 1,330 pounds of sand, 433
pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar.
How to recycle your personal care products?
Recycle is a very simple daily task. It's as easy as throwing waste into a
trash can. Only with recycling, you are throwing reusables into a separate
bin or large container to be separated and distributed through a recycling
Recycle your plastics and personal care product containers. Create a
separate place to recycle your lotion, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream
and fragrance bottles. They are all recyclable too.
PLASTIC - Oberlin University