Plastic Manufacturing and Recycling: Strategies for the Recovery
In order to better express the topic, it is necessary to analyze the basic scientific notions, which are connected with the present research. Thus, the environment is the phenomenon that surrounds an organism, directly or indirectly affecting its conditions and operations. It provides the possibility for living beings’ existence on the Earth. The environmental protection, or applied ecology, is a complex of specific measures, intended to limit the destructive effects on nature. Now, the environment is being negatively influenced by human progress. Pollution is the result of progress and development, which occurs on a regular basis. Technologies are developing rapidly and improving the quality of human life. This provides a high level of comfort and life to all people, but substantially reduces the quality of human health. Nowadays, the need to have a good and healthy environment is ignored.
The Impact of Plastic Manufacturing on the Environment
It has been over a century since the invention of plastics, and they are found in products all over the world these days. Plastics have their pros and cons just like everything else. For example, plastic containers are important in keeping food fresh, but they have the possibility of injecting neurotoxins like the BPA into the human body. PVC is now applicable in almost everything ranging from pipes to clothes and they have been discovered to contain compounds known as phthalates that have a connection with male reproductive disorders. According to studies, being exposed to environmental pollutants can have serious effects later in life and may lead to reduced labor, among other problems. Workers experience exposure to these chemicals in the manufacturing process and users get them when they use plastic packages due to the fact that there are chemicals that normally shift from the packages to its contents and if they are foods then one can ingest them and they can prove to be toxic.
Research conducted in 2014 concluded that plastics are the most suitable material with regard to disposable devices meant for single use due to the fact that they are lightweight, cost effective, need less energy for production and are biocompatible. However, the same research also indicated that the chemical compounds found in plastics are dangerous to human health (Stephens & Leighton, 2014). The presence of plastics in almost every sector of life and the intricacy of the substances discharged in the surroundings has raised the question of safety with regards to both humans and the environment. This is why it is important to examine the effect that plastic manufacturing may have on the environment and how it affects human life. The earth should not be used as a garbage can, and this is something that each environmentally-friendly manufacturer is aware of. (Films Media Group, 2006)
Chemical additives that are applied in manufacturing plastics by improving its performance come with some negative effects that they give off to the environment in addition to affecting human health too. For example, a study carried by Annual Review of Public Health discovered that BPA contains endocrine-disrupting properties. There is evidence to suggest that being exposed to plastics can lead to male fertility issues and result in aggressive behavior in addition to having early sexual knowledge. Exposure to DEHP has been known to lead to enlarged waist circumferences and also interfere with the reproductive systems in both men and women.
Plastics contribute to pollution and the form of pollution which most people can relate to is in the landfills. Plastics are stable materials, which makes them long-lasting, especially when they are not exposed to direct sunlight and this is what happens when they are buried in the landfills. They have a very low decomposition rate and this is even magnified by the antioxidants used by manufacturers to improve their resistance to acidic contents. This means that the plastic container you discarded will be in the environment for a significant period of time. These harmful chemicals can even leach into groundwater, therefore putting human and marine life at risk.
Plastic Waste Material Causing Pollution
Plastics burden the environment due to the toxic they release in to it. A study was carried out on manufacturers whose products released most toxins in to the environment and seven out of the top ten listed manufacturers were from plastic foam products. Examples of toxic chemicals that go in to the environment included toluene, acetone, benzene, methylene chloride, styrene, trichloroethane and so on. Methanol, volatile organic compounds, sulfur oxides, and ethylene oxide are examples of some of the toxic emissions resulting in to plastic production processes that go into the environment.
The production of plastic resin also leads to very serious pollution even though it might not be quite visible. During the process of polymerization of ethylene, combination of the dilute aqueous solutions and the reactive mixture lead to formation of high-volume pollutants. Although the refining process tries to minimize waste in the methods they use, there is still a high amount of point source air emissions due to the challenges of managing huge flows of pressurized gases. The manufacturing of PET resin leads to a greater amount of toxins compared to the manufacturing of glass. Examples of the toxins emitted include ethylbenzene, benzene and nickel among others. Research has shown that manufacturing about 16 oz of PET bottle leads to 100 times more toxins being emitted in to the atmosphere and water compared to manufacturing the same quantity of glass (Knoblauch, 2009). The production of plastics has proved to be dangerous to workers too. Many workers have been exposed to serious accidents in the manufacturing process and examples include chemical fires, lots of toxic vapor, explosions and chemical spills. These accidents have led to many deaths, injuries, huge property damage and evacuations. Research shows that 16% of the total industrial accidents that take place are connected to plastics production and their constituents (Stephens & Leighton, 2014).
The careless disposal of the plastics makes them dangerous to wildlife or marine animals due to the fact that they often ingest this plastic debris laced with chemicals. When plastic waster floats on water, it provides a conducive atmosphere for invasive species.
Efforts are being made to divert solid waste in order to reduce the amount of pollution created by plastics. In addition to that, rules on discarding containers have been put in place to try and curb this problem but it is not yet under control. It is important to assess the effects that specific products have on the environment and this includes plastics and their production, how they are emitted in to the atmosphere, solid wastes, water supply and so on (NJ. Princeton, 2004) and this is what this paper serves to do.
Many new inventions and innovations pose a threat to human life, as they are created artificially. This synthetic and unsystematic way to ensure the best conditions for life creates the components necessary for human life. All contemporary things, which are very important in daily life, are made from synthetic materials (Al-Jayyousi, 2001). However, it is necessary to provide the overall research on most significant environmental issues in order to understand that further human activities can lead to incorrigible negative environmental changes.
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Several basic types of environmental pollution can be outlined: chemical, physical, and biological. Physical pollution includes heat, light, noise, and ultrasound pollution. Chemical pollution is caused by the migration of chemical elements, most of which being returned to the natural cycle in unusual forms of the biosphere. For example, artificially created organic compounds (xenobiotics) are especially dangerous. The biological pollution includes changes in species structure by the addition of unusual for particular ecological community types of creatures (Rogaume, Jabouille, Auzanneau, & Goudeau, 1999).
One of the main problems concerning the environmental pollution is the recycling of raw materials, that is, the process of subsequent use or recycle of waste or debris. This process can be applied during the use of such materials as glass, paper, aluminum, asphalt, iron, textiles, and various types of plastic. The necessity of recycling is dictated by the limited amount of natural recourses on the planet. Another reason is that synthetic materials, which are released into the environment, become harmful pollutants.
Considering the high importance of recycling process, it is necessary to focus on one – the most common type of this issue – plastic recycling. There are different kinds of plastic material, which can be remade into something else. These are polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinylchloride, polypropylene, high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, polyethylene wax, polyamide, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polybutylene terephthalate, etc. Existing methods of waste plastics processing can be divided into three main groups: mechanical, physical, and chemical. The mechanical plastic recycling is done on unconditioned tape, casting waste, partially extended or undrawn fiber. Such reprocessing uses crushed and powdered materials for subsequent injection molding (Asanuma & Ariyama, 2004). Eventually, the refined physical and chemical properties of the polymer are virtually unchanged.
During recycling, the quality of mechanical plastic containers is determined by the degree of contamination of organic material particles and the content of other polymers (polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride), or the presence of paper on the labels. Physical and chemical methods of waste recycling can be classified as follows: destruction of waste in order to produce monomers or oligomers suitable for fiber and pellicle; re-melting of the waste to produce pellet, sinter and products extrusion or injection molding; reprecipitation from solution to obtain a powder for coating, as composite materials; chemical modification in order to produce materials with new properties.
Each of the proposed technology has its advantages. However, not all of the methods described are applicable to the recycling of pet food packaging waste. Current technology can remake only non-contaminated technological waste, leaving untouched food containers, which are usually heavily contaminated with protein and mineral impurities. The removal of them is associated with significant costs, which is not always economically feasible in the middle and small scales.
Waste plastics are divided into lump and pellicle waste. The pre-treatment of plastic waste lump can be carried out through the use of conventional crusher and pulverizer. In some cases, when a membrane plastic waste uses a simple split, it leads to a large number of plastic dust. Because of that, there are serious problems with clogging and plugging dispersant airline that transports the waste. In the process of managing this problem, it was found that burning is the optimal process, which can be effectively used in the recycling of plastic waste, which is cut into pieces and mixed in the tank. By friction, a lot of heat and waste are melted. Then, the fast cooling conducted by water jets and sintered plastic waste harden. In the end, the fine grinding process finishes recycling. For an air transportation of recycled plastic in blast furnace tuyeres, it is necessary to optimize variables which affect the process of transportation, such as pipe size and air pressure (Alex, 2011). System technology of the preliminary preparation of plastic waste entails the collected waste being classified, crushed, divided into pellets, and then used as raw material for the production of pig iron by blowing into the blast furnace.
The above-mentioned process of plastic recycling should be widely implemented due to the growing necessity to protect the polluted environment. The economic development promotes the growth of waste products. For many centuries, the human society had destroyed waste by simple methods, while their effectiveness had been confirmed by the environmental cleanliness. With the advent of cars, trains, factories, and many other scientific innovations, the world saw new challenges. Whereas the old technologies for waste recycling by incineration and disposal in special landfills coped well with their mission, now, due to the increased amount of waste, there is the urgent need to invent new ways to decrease the number of harmful substances. There were many factors that led to the emergence of a garbage problem. One of them is the rapid increase of world population.
The recognized scholars found that volumes of waste and garbage by industrial and household activity were increasing faster than the population of the planet. Each year, the amount of waste per capita increased by 6.4%, which is 3 times faster than the growth of human population. Moreover, the rapid expansion of industrial and household waste threatens human health and the environment (Rogaume, Jabouille, Auzanneau, & Goudeau, 1999). Each year, 5.2 million people, including 4 million children, die from diseases caused by improper disposal of waste. As regards to millions of animals and fishes that are dying because of various wastes, the statistics are much more terrible. In fact, the problem of garbage is more than the problem of ecology. This is an issue relating to the whole world and our personal responsibility for our actions. Pollution of the planet is the result of people’s unconscious and irresponsible behavior; thus, the whole liability for the destruction of the planet lies on the human race.
Banning Plastic Bags in a Specific County or City
Plastic sacks are non-biodegradable materials which take as much as 1,000 years to mould, leading to grave impacts on our surroundings. It is not just an obligation of a specific government to begin forcing bans on utilizing plastic sacks. Every person ought to be mindful and shoulder some obligations to minimize anthropogenic effect as much as could reasonably be expected. We will analyze different countries, namely Kenya, Germany, China, and Ireland that have taken a step to ban the usage of polythene bags within their territories. We will also look at some of the cities like California, Delhi, San Francisco that have taken drastic measures to minimize the usage of polythene bags. Lastly, the research will illustrate the harmful effects of polythene bags on the environment and the reasons why people should take part in reducing or eradicating polythene bags.
According to the research, plastic bag pollution has turned into a plague of ecological obliteration. The actualities are disturbing and widely spread throughout the planet. In the United States alone, shoppers spend $4 billion on plastic packs a year numbering in several million. It is evaluated that less than 5% are ever reused. A number of towns are taking measures to resolve the plastic waste calamity. For instance, numerous nations have begun an extensive strategy in which widespread product retailers and hotels are advocated to give other substitute to paper bags, discouraging their usage. Growing number of cities are also taking such measures. For instance, Boston is considering possible city standards that would confine the utilization of plastic packs. The studies have shown that hazardous nature of plastic has constrained the governments of numerous states worldwide to put a ban on the utilization of poly packs, a real origin of plastic contamination. The few urban cities and countries where polythene containing products are either totally or partially banned incorporate San Francisco, New York, Germany, Kenya, and Ireland among others (Romer and Foley 377). Delhi state also approved laws against the extensive utilization of polythene. Nonetheless, later on the government transformed its choice to ban polythene due to several reasons. The government recommended producers to set up reusing units due to the polluter pays doctrine.
The analysis demonstrates that residents, guests, and organizations in the large urban cities discard roughly 27 million plastic packs every year, as indicated by a report discharged in 2013. Sadly, only a small part of them is reused, thus, the majority of 27 million packs remains in landfills, blocks reutilization, litters landscapes, pollutes streams and rivulets, and damages or kills natural life. Plastic sacks are considered naturally hazardous in light of the fact that they never completely disintegrate, and are regularly littered causing critical mischief to natural life. In the U.S., annually 100 billion plastic backs are utilized, superfluously overworking landfills. Besides, paper packs are much more destructive naturally. Fromer (493) states that the absence of air and dampness in the landfills prevents them from decay, and their production takes more energy resources. Moreover, their cost is incommensurably larger for the retailers and thus buyers as compared with expenses for plastic sacks (O’Brine and Thompson 2279-2283). Nonetheless, the above stated countries have taken a vital step towards fighting polythene bag menace on the planet.
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There are presently 15 reusable pack organizations in California. The bill designed to completely eradicate the use of polythene bags will advance the development of organizations, improving Plan B on disposable plastics. This plan is meant to allow California achieve zero waste action strategy. According to this plan, the government will impose a complete ban on the use of polythene bags within California. Reusable pack makers, for example Green Vets, are passionately supporting this bill. Separate individuals engaged in different spheres of activity are also asking the California lawmaking body to pass a comprehensive bill, in which no more production of polythene bags will be allowed. Majority of Latino community group pioneers reject previous claims that stated the plastic carriers ban would eventually hurt employment rate or societal discontent. Warner (645) argues that numerous states are moving to lessen plastic contamination. Many other nations are watching as California gets ready to achieve this rapid progress to ensure safety of the environment. Derraik (842-852) illustrates that in 2007, San Francisco also became the first U.S. city to oblige markets and extensive medication stores to offer clients the bags made strictly of recyclable paper, plastic that can be transformed into manure, or plastic that can be reused. Shockingly, plastic is non-biodegradable and represents a genuine danger for waste administration. People should never allow plastic waste to pile up in the environment. Stillman (190-194) also states that frequent plastic squander would bring even more negative impacts on the Earth.
As per popular initiative among Californians, urban communities and provinces that have founded a utilization plastic sack ban have seen single-utilized plastic packs diminishing by 95%, plastic pack utilization diminishing by 30%, and plastic litter in conduits diminishing by 60%. Across the nation, urban cities and regions are founding plastic sack bans with an end goal to handle the issue, forestall contamination, and spare cash (Dalen and Knursen 93-102). A huge number of Californians have stood to help prevent plastic packs from dirtying shorelines, stepping up rivers, killing marine life, and inflict damage to the citizens and local governments. Almost 33% of the state’s population of nearly 38 million individuals lives in the jurisdictions that have already passed or are attempting to pass laws to handle plastic packaging waste. Presently, California can lead the country in diminishing plastic sack squander all through the state. Californians utilize approximately 12 billion single-utilization plastic packs. The investigation of urban waste drainage channels and the L.A. stream organization has evaluated that the plastic sack waste is reported to make up as much as 26% of the disposed plastic waste stream. Plastic sacks do not simply hurt the marine environment: it has been assessed that California wastes $25 million consistently to put out discarded plastic packs to pasture. These expenses could be spent on schools and other important sectors, instead of wasting money to correct the mistakes people created themselves. L.A. Region put in $25 million on plastic litter, waste cleanup collection endeavors, and endorsement efforts. Plastic sacks are in charge of these expenses because they invoke a noteworthy rate of the litter stream.
For the recent decade, it has become eminent that plastic packs pose devastating danger to marine life as well, because, if ingested, the sacks can obstruct animal’s stomach and lead to starvation. A disturbing number of turtles, birds, whales, and other creatures die yearly because of plastic sacks being mistaken for prey, such as jellyfish. The whale appeared on a shoreline at Normandy has been found to have 800 grams of plastic in its stomach. Studies have found that a few plastic items contain biphenyl, which is hazardous for people’s health. Plastic packs are extremely harmful to natural surroundings and are reported to cause the deaths of 1 million seabirds, 100,000 maritime mammals, and incalculable amount of fish annually. Once a creature ingests a plastic sack, it cannot be processed further and stays in the creature’s gut, anticipating other nourishment processes and bringing about agonizing and subsequent death. Meriem and Ling (1-16) have assessed that more than 100,000 marine animals die every year due to plastic contamination. The research has analyzed a seabird that had more than 1700 bits of plastic in its abdomen. Creatures frequently confuse plastic for prey and can gag while ingesting it, consequently causing larger number of victims. Occasionally packs could entrap marine fauna. Plastic does not disintegrate, it slowly photo-degrades for a long period of time. When plastic breaks down into minor particles, it can in any case hurt the creatures since they cannot process it. Thus, plastic particles continue filling animal’s stomach and can inevitably starve the creature as there will be no more space for nourishment (Schlaepfer, Runge, and Sherman 474-480). This is one of the major reasons due to which China banned the use of plastic bags within its territory.
Upon a closer view, plastic sacks evidently have a negative impact on the natural order. Plastic is non-biodegradable, poisonous, and non-recyclable. Nowadays, individuals feel responsible for disposing of the plastic utilization and lessening plastic waste (Moore 131-139). Two great alternatives can be utilized instead of plastic sacks. Firstly, it is biodegradable packs that are made of bio-plastic that disintegrates rapidly. These packs do not demand special measures to be reprocessed. The second variant is reusable bags. Biodegradable packs are a decent alternative for those people who neglect to use the most obvious option, namely, reusable sacks.
Nowadays, U.S. citizens begin to acknowledge on the model of their European and Asian neighbors that reusable sacks are the answer for the plastic and paper pack issue. Such countries as Kenya, Germany, Ireland, China, as well as city of San Francisco, are playing a vital part in protecting the environment from plastic pollution. California has witnessed the rise of activists who have offered and pushed different laws and amendments directed at annihilation of plastic menace. It is the obligation of every individual to make sure that the environment is clean and uninjurious for people, flora, and fauna. In case reusable packs are impossible, or clients neglect to bring their packs, bio-plastic is the best approach. These packs cost more than usual plastic bags; however, it is much more important and cheaper to care about the environment in advance. Everybody is responsible for making our environment a peaceful place to live in. It is significant to make sure that people minimize the usage of plastic bags.
Plastics are everywhere, this has made it challenging to carry out some research on people experiencing low exposure to them in comparison with those experiencing high exposure to plastics. This is due to the fact that everyone is exposed to them. What is apparent, however, is that there is a need to examine how plastics are used in order to benefit from the advantages they bring with them and find a way of greatly reducing their negative impacts on both humans and the environment.
Consequently, nowadays, the development of new and improved ways of disposing of the old materials is the topic of current interest, because the environment is an integral part of human existence. If the effect is only negative, soon the mankind will have no place to live. For this reason, environmental care is not only important to the nature that surrounds us but also to ourselves. The main task of society is to minimize its adverse impact on our planet and do everything possible to clean it. Recycling of raw materials can prevent the habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and soil erosion, and eventually move the environment closer to its natural state.