Plastic Research : Americans sit on single-use plastic stockpile, research finds

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Americans are more likely to hang on to plastic products than dispose of them, a recent poll found out.

In the course of this study, 2,000 adults were surveyed by OnePoll on behalf of premium water brand Core Hydration.

64% of respondents claimed they had no need to purchase extra Tupperware since they had enough plastic containers to spare on hand. In many cases, those surveyed also admitted to upcycling their plastic items. Examples given for such projects entail the reuse of yogurt containers as dessert cups, the growing of garlic in cut off bottles, the repurposing of plastic jars sans labelling as vases and of bottles into candle holders as well as the refashioning of old frames into jewellery hangers.

Many admitted to asking themselves whether an article is recyclable up to 4 times a week, 55% being unwilling to throw away plastic based materials. Yet this assertion also has a downside, as those interviewed confessed to throwing about four items in the recycling bin without being sure whether it belongs there or not.

Some 61% of people also said they did not know whether their efforts to recycle were enough to curb plastic pollution and its negative environmental effects.

In a written statement, a Core Hydration spokesperson pointed out that recycling does make a difference, seeing as it prevents items from being sent to landfill while also giving plastics a second life under less energy-intensive conditions than are needed to manufacture new plastics.

Recycling is relevant considering that inadequately disposed plastic can contaminate soil and groundwater, thereby leading to microplastic proliferation in animals which can be harmful to humans as well upon ingestion.

Yet the process does not always save on energy, especially when processing facilities are farther apart from residential areas. In this case, recycling may entail the transport, segregation, cleaning and processing in separate facilities which uses up a certain amount of energy and may contribute to air, water and soil pollution.

To fight the global plastic crisis, a holistic approach that combines recycling and certified composable plastics with the reuse of plastic items (ex. in the context of bottle deposit schemes) and a commitment towards plastic waste avoidance whenever possible is needed.