Currently, an estimated 300 million tons of plastic are generated each year. For takeaway beverages alone, more than 165 million cups are used every day. This, in turn, translates into millions of tons of waste in the environment.
That’s why you should already have opted for a reusable bottle to carry around. Still, you may find yourself in the position of having to purchase a plastic bottle at some point.
If so, you may, like everyone else, have thought about reusing it at least a couple of times, thus contributing to less environmental impact.
But is it safe to reuse plastic bottles?
The truth is that these containers are intended to be “single-use”. Among the possible risks of not limiting this use, there is a tendency to think that over time the chemicals in the material will end up leaching into the water and then enter your body.
However, it should be noted that plastics degrade very slowly. To give you an idea, it takes about 500 years to decompose a simple water bottle.
Meta facts, a platform designed to verify facts through the opinion of a community of experts, has asked the same question.
Reusing plastic containers, do you know the risks?
Who has not refilled a bottle of water when it has run out? Who has not left a bottle in the car when going to the beach and then drank from it? Who has not reheated leftovers in a Tupper in the microwave? Well, these attitudes are not recommended.
Plastic bottles or containers (including some baby bottles) can release small chemical compounds (phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA)) into the drink or food. These compounds are harmful to health (they act on hormones) and should be avoided.
In this article, I will explain why it is not advisable to refill water bottles, why plastics should not be heated in the microwave, and which containers you should avoid.
How to recycle plastic bottles at home
1. Planters with plastic bottles
Plastic bottles are one of the most common disposable objects that can be found littering seas, rivers, and forests … Its degradation can take up to 1,000 years, so finding a new use for them will be a very beneficial gesture for the environment.
2. Crafts with plastic caps
If bottles are one of the most frequent pollutants, caps are an added problem. When depositing bottles in the yellow container, it is recommended not to flatten them and include the cap, but this is not always possible because it is very easy to lose them.
3. Lamps with plastic bags
While it is true that campaigns to reduce the use of plastic bags have had a great reception, there is still a long way to go to get them to disappear completely: it is estimated that in the world, 200,000 bags are wasted per second and that a plastic bag can take up to 700 years to decompose. The best strategy to control the pollution generated by plastic bags is to stop using them. It’s as simple as that. However, we all have plastic bags at home, and it is possible to give them a new life to avoid waste. A sustainable and elegant way to achieve this goal is to make lamps out of the bags.
4. Children’s crafts with plastic plates and cups
Europe is preparing to ban single-use plastics in 2021. In this way, it is planned to reverse the disastrous data that indicate that only the Pacific Ocean accumulates 90,000 tons of garbage.
5. Toys with plastic packaging
Another way to involve the little ones in recycling is to propose to them the construction of toys with plastic containers that they can find at home.
As we can see, recycling plastic at home is very simple and can be done in many different ways. The important thing is to give plastics a second life that prevents them from being wasted and to replace their use with other more sustainable materials.