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I've worked in the plastic industry for 9 years now.
It has made me be more conscious of how I use it and make sure I use it properly.
Like... Never EVER use a polyethylene bag from the supermarket to freeze things inside. Those are made with non FDA grade plastic and your food can get contaminated with bad stuff.
Don't put in the microwave plastic that is not meant for it. It releases "bad stuff" (again).
The industry promotes "reduce, reuse, recycle" as a sustainable business model to also protect the environment.
Reduce means down gauge: use thinner versions, like a smaller cap, thinner film equally strong for shopping bags, thinner bottles, etc
Reuse means that... Reuse the containers. Don't just use it once but do it smartly. If the container was never in direct contact with food/liquids to be consumed, don't use it for food. Like supermarket/shopping bags... Never use them to be in direct contact with food (they are not ziplocks), but do use them as garbage bags or to carry things (even wrapped food). Or sauce containers.
Most plastics will become brittle and break in the freezer if the container wasn't mean for freezer (because of the blend of resins) but it's no big deal... You just won't be able to use it as much.
Recycle is self explanatory right?
Most plastics (resins) have the ability to be recycled lots of times.
Industries don't usually use it more than once or twice because it breaks the molecules and the resins need to be re-stabilized to avoid production problems and bad quality.
If anyone has any questions, let me know!
I've learned quite a bit of resins and their chemistry/benefits along the way (although I work in marketing and I'm not technical... But you gotta know the product to offer its benefits right?)
To be honest, I don't think about it most of the time. We don't even recycle. It just occurred to me that we use tons of plastic--especially zip lock bags and plastic water bottles (although recently I've started trying to use my BPA-free Nalgene bottle more often, rather than the throw-away water bottles). I was looking into alternatives to zip lock bags (which I think we've talked about on here before), and when you do that, you come across folks who are super serious about minimizing use of plastic, or going "plastic-free." It just makes me think I could do a better job...by at least recycling and possibly minimizing our use of it in some ways. I don't think we will ever be extreme about it--I just don't see how it is possible or necessary to cut out all plastic.
Plastic isn't bad if you use it properly.
Ziplocks can be washed and reused. That's a way you can start doing something.
Recycling is important because post-consumer plastic won't go into bottles or food containers but they can be used for benches, tiles, other non good related items.
But if you are trying to be "green", don't buy the oxo crap (when they say it's oxobiodegradable or just plain biodegradable).
What that is, is an additive that it is added to regular resins that allow for faster oxidation, hence breaking the molecules faster and making the plastic brittle after x months when in contact with the sunlight, air and heat.
It is SUPPOSED to break the plastic so small eventually that bacteria will "eat it" and it'll become biomass... But nobody had ever proven it. For all I know it could be just a contaminant you know?
Also, when it says COMPOSTABLE, please, PLEASE don't recycle it. It is meant for a compost site or garbage. If you put it in the recycle bin it will just contaminate the whole recycling stream and make it impossible to recycle.
Also, there are resins that come from a sustainable source and non-sustainable sources.
A non sustainable is oil (traditional). If you add the oxo additive it'll be "biodegradable" but still comes from oil.
A sustainable source is corn or potato starch. But that doesn't automatically make it biodegradable. It will be just as another plastic for you, it won't degrade unless you put the additive in.
And there are other resins that are from sustainable sources (starch) and are also compostable (degrades on its own). But those are just so expensive that nobody uses them (costs about $3/lb vs a traditional resin that costs $0.80/lb more or less).
Just another heads up
*** Thank you :shortcake: for my beautiful siggie ***
We definitely reduce, reuse and recycle. We have a great recycling program here. I try to use other products where possible. I don't wash and reuse Ziploc bags though. Those get tossed. You can buy reusable/washable snack and sandwich bags but my family would lose them so I'm not willing to spend the money on them.