plastic and climate change

Climate change has been a topic of discussion for the past few decades, and as the crackdown on plastic has come to the forefront of concern, some may wonder what the connection between the two might be.

Keep on reading our blog post to find out the answer and the issues relating to plastic going unrecycled.

Plastic Emissions: The Early Stages of Harm

Even before a piece of plastic is disposed of, from the time it is made, it has an impact on the environment.

This has to do with the fact that “conventional plastics” are made from fossil fuels, meaning they’re a product of the oil and gas industry.

And while there are other methods of plastic creation, as the plastics industry continues to develop and experiment with new techniques, plastics made from fossil fuels will likely face some of the same issues in the future that they currently face.

In addition to this, there is also the harm that comes from these manufacturing plants during production, since they require oil to make the vast amount of the final product.

oil production

(Source: Plastic Facts)

Life After Single Use: What Happens When Plastic Isn’t Recycled?

When plastic isn’t recycled and gets disposed of into landfills or the ocean, it will begin degrading, albeit very slowly and with some harmful effects.

According to the University of Hawaii, as plastic degrades it emits several greenhouse gases, such as methane and ethylene.

And adding more fuel to the fire, methane is 21x more potent than CO2, one of the main factors for climate change.

The Verdict: Plastic’s Direct Connection to Climate Change

Since degrading plastic that sits in sunlight emits greenhouse gasses, and greenhouse gasses are known to have a direct effect on climate change, it’s safe to say there is a definite connection between unrecycled plastics and climate change.

The Severe Harm of Single-Use Plastic

A major issue with unrecycled plastics is that in many cases, it is single-use plastics that are going unrecycled. Water bottles, grocery bags, straws, cups, containers, and cutlery are just a few of the common single-use plastics that regularly are left unrecycled.

These single-use plastics are most commonly the plastics that are making their way into oceans and landfills only to degrade into the greenhouse gasses that are harming our earth.

“…All [plastics] gave off methane and ethylene in the days after being exposed to sunlight, they found, but polyethylene, which is used to make plastic bags, was the worst offender…” – The Scientist

The Importance in Plastics Recycling: The Data

Given the connection between plastics and climate change, here are some statistics on plastic, recycling, and more thanks to Plastic Facts,, Rubicon, National Geographic, and others:

  • Only 9% of plastic trash is recycled in the U.S., meaning a troubling 91% of plastic isn’t recycled
  • Plastics currently account for 3% of landfill composition
  • 40% of plastic produced is packaging, and is discarded after one use
  • Around 2 million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute
    • Shoppers in the U.S. use almost one plastic bag per resident per day
    • To contrast this, shoppers in Denmark use an average of four plastic bags a year
  • The United States throws away $11.4 billion worth of recyclable containers and packaging every year

These are just a few highlights of the importance of recycling your plastic products, and also doing your part to try and find alternatives to single-use plastic products.

Check Out Some of our Other Blog Posts About the Value of Recycling Plastics

20 U.S. Companies Crafting Their Products from Recycled Plastics

Since plastic recycling has an impact across the globe, it’s important to admire companies who go out of their way to help combat the current plastics dilemma on our planet by using recycled plastics!

Plastic Recycling Machines and Casinos: How Las Vegas Is Going Green

Las Vegas is making a name for themselves in sustainability by introducing recycling into their casinos, and with green efforts becoming more important by the year it’s great to see a range of different sectors doing their part to do better.

How Is Plastic Recycled: An Around-the-World Comparison

Recycling plastic isn’t just a buzzing topic in the United States, as many other countries are tackling recycling by using a variety of methods that fellow governments and companies can potentially learn from.

Industry Analysis: The Use of Recycled Plastic in Fashion

As another sector making their way into going green, the fashion industry has made great waves in using recycled plastic in their products. Highlighting the companies who have started and kept up on this trend is a key way to encourage others to follow their path!

How Could Plastic Packaging Taxes Impact the Industry?

As plastics packaging is a large part of the problem when it comes to recycling plastics, when news broke that new tax laws were coming out related to the packaging, many speculated it would affect the industry in a variety of ways. Check out our post for some insights.

Who Is Shini USA?

As a provider of reliable equipment to assist in the recycling of industrial plastics, such as granulators, shredders, and more, Shini USA strives to help companies do their part in being better manufacturers. And our commitment to customer service sets us apart from the rest.

Not to mention, we also offer monthly specials and financing options in order to help our customers fit our equipment into their budget.

Get to Know Our Product Line

Check out Shini USA’s diverse products by clicking on the respective links below:

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Interested in learning more about our products or how we can help your business become more efficient? Reach out today!