Governments, Industries and Citizens are perplexed, confused and ambiguous around words of Recyclable, Recycled and Biodegradation. It becomes imperative to clarify the terms to reduce or eliminate these confusions or ambiguity.
When a PET bottle contains water or juice is thrown, it is Recyclable. The contents of a beverage bottle like Water, Juice, or Iced Tea are Non-Toxic thus the bottle is worthy of Recycling after processes such as washing with water, cutting into flakes, and then making PET pellets or making thousands of products like Polyester yarn or Carpets etc. So Recyclable means it’s the intent; it CAN BE Recycled if segregated and collected.
When a PET bottle containing water, juice or Oil is segregated from other wastes , collected , transported to a PET recycling center and PET pellets or further value added products are made out, that’s the action of Recycling a Recyclable is Completed.
Governments and Waste Managers want plastics to be Recycled, the action, not just the intent of being Recyclables.
There are certain PET Bottles, which are Non- Recyclable, or unfit for being recycled. Like PET Bottle containing Bio Fertilizer, Pesticides, Chemicals or other toxic and poisonous substances. Recycling these could result in poisoning the pellets and value added products. Similarly HDPE /PP Cans, Woven sacks containing Fertilizers, Chemicals, and Cements are Non Recyclables. Hospital wastes like Syringes, Blood bags and Domestic wastes such as Sanitary Pads and Diapers are Non Recyclables.
So what can we do about Recyclables?
Biodegradation or consumption by microbes in presence (Aerobic condition) or absence (Anaerobic condition) Oxygen is the End of The Life solution for All Plastics using BioD.
Compostable plastics are Biodegradable in presence of Oxygen (Aerobic) in man-managed Composting Facilities, not having greater height than 10-15 feet. Below 15 feet Oxygen depletes rapidly. Composting Facilities are present only in a few countries such as France, Canada and a few parts of USA.
It’s a myth that Compostable plastics are easily biodegradable or can be made into compost at home, using home composting. Even paper Does not compost as it’s composed of a cellulosic polymer. It might take more than a year. So does a Banana peel!
Orange peel thrown on soil will take around 2 years to Biodegrade!!
Never believe in claims that any one method is the best or only method. There has to be alternative solutions for any challenge. Do not be rigid and Innovation-Blind. Human Brain is very creative.
So choose the method to manage waste wisely and never litter!