When it comes to plastics and other such material there is endless terminology that leaves the nation baffled. Plastic Resin Codes, which are the numbers in the triangle on your plastic item, can be a mind field to those not in the industry, and recycling logos can often also be confusing and misinterpreted too (our handy guide can help explain). Whereas these types of symbols are given due to their material and recyclability are often more complex – other terms given to plastics often have an easier title, for example, single-use.
We hear the phrase single-use plastics a lot in the media, giving the impression that these plastic items are only usable and suitable for one usage, then they no longer have any purpose and get thrown away. The reality is, plastics’ robust structure means that a lot of ‘single-use’ items have a lifespan far beyond their title.
In fact, the reality is these items such as plastic bags, bottles, containers, and more, can successfully be used several times, with no impairment to their quality. Two members of our team carried out their own experiments, where they put these so-called ‘single-use’ items to the test, and low and behold, they far exceeded their singular suggested application.
In the experiment, we saw that the durable material of plastic has kept the shape and structural use of both the carrier bag and water bottle. These were re-used successfully several times, with the same great success as their initial usage.
Which begs the question, why are they classed as single-use? This is a misconception drummed up by the media, demonising plastic. Some plastic items such as medical syringes of course only have one use for hygiene and medical reasons, but many plastics can be re-used time and time again before they then should be responsibly recycled.
With the majority of people branding these terms single-use, it is no wonder they do not achieve the longevity they are capable of. With this misinformed information, users are very quickly disposing of perfectly re-usable items, this is a key factor to the ever-mounting plastic waste.
We must re-think our attitudes towards plastics, and make a conscious effort to re-use items as much as we possibly can. Re-use then recycle – single-use is a choice, not demand.