Dear Recycle Lady,
What are nurdles? They must have something to do with plastics. Confused
Nurdles are totally plastic. They are the very tiny plastic pellets that are the building blocks for manufacturing plastic products. Nurdles are a microplastic as they are between 2 and 5mm in size. It takes over 600 nurdles to make one small plastic bottle. Not only are nurdles in everything plastic, they are everywhere – inside marine life, wildlife, birds, soil, vegetables, rain, snow, and human bodies. Millions of them wash up on coastal beaches, riverbanks, and lakes every year and will remain in the environment for centuries.
Dear Recycle Lady,
Do we recycle bottles with the caps on or do we recycle bottles with the caps removed? I have a plastic bottle that has a top with the message “Recycle cap with bottle.” I have always been told to remove the caps before putting the bottles in recycling. Is it really important to remove caps from plastic bottles? Just wondering
Dear Just Wondering,
Locally, it is critical to remove the caps from plastic bottles before recycling. Large cities often have processing equipment that separates the caps from the bottles before sending them off to the next level of recycling, but our Recycling Center doesn’t have this equipment. There are several reasons why bottles and caps should be separated. First of all, bottles and caps are made from different kinds of plastic. When two kinds of plastic are mixed, one kind contaminates the other kind, reducing the value of the recyclable material. Locally, it takes extra time for workers to separate caps from bottles before processing. This is necessary because if the caps are left on the bottles, they could jam the processing equipment. Also, a capped bottle might explode under pressure, becoming a safety hazard for workers.
Amazon has just announced that they are phasing out plastic padded shipping envelopes and replacing them with recyclable options. As Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, this is a big step forward in getting rid of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging. According to Environmental Actions, tens of thousands of supporters signed the petition that was given in last week’s column. Kudos to all of you who signed this petition. Although this announcement is an important step in the right direction, Amazon still needs to commit to a set timeline for phasing out these plastic envelopes and replacing them with something that is sustainable. Environmental Action is continuing to put pressure on Amazon to “put our planet over plastic.”
Good News: Siquijor, the first zero-waste province in the Philippines, demonstrates that an entire community can commit to sustainable practices. This lush island that is teeming with biodiversity, has implemented zero-waste solutions despite being a remote island with over 100,000 residents. For more information see: https://www.freetheocean.com/journal/the-dream-of-a-plastic-free-world-is-becoming-a-reality-for-many.
Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.
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