How to Recycle Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles are a huge problem in 21st century America. For example, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp, in 1976, the average U.S. citizen drank just 1.6 gallons of bottled water. By 2006 this had leapt to a massive 28.3 gallons and it’s rising still. And it’s not just plastic water bottles; any beverage, be it Coke, Juice, various oils for use in automobiles, there’s a million and one products which come in plastic bottles. Plastic lids, yogurt tubs, shampoo bottles and other cosmetic containers all come under the title of ‘plastic bottles.’

Can they be recycled?

Many types of plastic bottles can be recycled, but sadly only around 27% of them actually are. Back in 1988, a system was introduced whereby plastics were marked with a code so that it was easy for the consumer to see if the product was suitable to be recycled. However, although this code may be easy for those involved in the plastics industry to understand, it is not clear to the every-day consumer. The various plastic bottles and packaging are referred to as PET – which is short for polyethylene terephthalate, the plastic resin used to make the bottles.

All towns and cities have recycling centers where you can take plastic bottles, and this is probably the best place to get rid of them. If you are unsure about where your local recycling center is, visit and enter your zip code to find the nearest to you.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

Plastic bottles (PET) are generally recycled into fibers which are then used in the production of carpets and textiles. The recycling of plastic bottles in the U.S. has the capacity to be used to a far greater extent; in fact demand is higher than the amount currently produced.

It is very possible that in the future recycled plastic bottles will also be used to make waterproof products such as shipping containers or even fleece clothing.

There have been many health scares recently about the danger of re-using plastic water bottles or placing them in the freezer. There is growing medical evidence to support a very slight risk to health by re-using bottles for beverages, and they are only intended for single use. However, there is no risk of placing them in the freezer.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

Yes, it uses up energy to recycle plastics, but the main problem is that plastic used for bottles and other packaging is made from non-renewable sources. Most are made from natural gas – the same as the gas used in your home for heating and cooking. The biggest thing all of us can do is to cut down on our use of plastic bottles, although this is very hard to do, seeing as most products come packaged this way.

How to Recycle Tires

In the past, scrap tires always went into landfill. In the year of 2003 alone, 290 million tires were disposed of this way, taking up an enormous amount of resources and causing the U.S. government great concern. Thankfully, markets now exist for over 80% of these scrap tires, therefore taking a lot of the pressure off the landfill sites.

Can they be recycled?

Most definitely, and should always be done so. When tires end up being dumped or going to landfill they proved a wonderful breeding ground for insects such as mosquitoes. The shape of them is perfect; holding a small amount of water inside which is shaded from the sun to prevent too much evaporation. They also provide perfect homes for rodents. So along with being unsightly, scrap tires can present a significant risk to human health as well if not disposed of in the correct manner.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

Tires can be recycled into a multitude of different things. Very many tires are re-treaded and put back into use. Others are used as fuel, or can be converted into rubber and rubber used in asphalt. Still more are used in the agricultural industry and engineering projects, and a lot are exported to other countries.

48 states have laws and regulations in regards to the scrapping of tires. Some encourage members of the public to dispose of tires in the correct manner by having free of charge drop off points, or even tire amnesty days. But it is very likely that when you recycle a tire that you may have to pay a small amount towards the cost.

When you take your car or vehicle to have its tires changed, it is very common that the cost of the new tires will include a charge for disposing of the old ones. This is not an optional charge and is something that everyone has to pay.

One of the big markets for recycled tires is rubberized asphalt which is found in many children’s play areas. This surface helps take the impact out of falls, which are inevitable as children play on playground items.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

Recycling tires is essential if we are not to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount used every year. Because practically every aspect of a tire can be recycled, this outweighs the resources used in the recycling process. Although it is expensive in monetary terms to recycle tires, in environmental terms the recycling of tires is priceless.

If you are unsure of a tire recycling facility close to where you live, visit and enter your zip code to find options close to your address.