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Julie Nawfal

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How can we improve plastic recycling ?

Hi everyone!
I am student in plastics engineering and am interested in plastics recycling.
As you probably know, the most popular drawback of plastic is that it’s very polluting. The problem is that so much people just throw up plastics scraps into nature, or put it in the ordinary bin, whereas plastic can be recycled. Nowadays, plastic recycling has been well improved and we should continue on that way.
So, I’m looking for ideas which could be developed to encourage people to sort plastic to recycle them in the most optimum way.
Thank you in advance for your responses.

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  • Dec 15 2013: I am an old goat - so my first idea was that goats eat everything, so just have everyone get a goat and the goats will eat the plastic and do the recycling for us (that's supposed to be a joke).
    More seriously, in the "olden days" governments wanted to reduce discarded glass, so through legislation they decreed that when you bought a drink that came in a glass bottle the store checkout would add 5 cents (American) for each bottle which would be added on to your bill and be called a bottle deposit. Later on when you finished drinking your bottles you could bring the empties back to the store and get your 5 cents per bottle back - the bottles would go back to the bottler and be reused. A lot of empty bottles never made it back to the store, but kids would earn spare change by scouring all over the place for bottles that they could bring into the store for the 5 cents per bottle deposit.

    Aluminum cans proved easier to do than glass because aluminum has relatively high intrinsic value - so most towns have active aluminum recycling available and this is all private sector driven - no government legislation required.

    Since plastic has low intrinsic value I suspect you would have to go a route similar to the glass bottle route - that is by legislation put a monetary deposit on plastic containers. To handle the diversity of plastic types you might need a bar code or other type indicator to expedite sorting.

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