Do people really care about recycling plastic and what happens to their rubbish after they’ve carelessly thrown it in the bin? Open dustbin, lift lid, throw in plastic bottle—and before the sensation of the cool liquid sliding down their gullet on a hot day has passed, they have forgotten all about the existence of the bottle. It will never be considered again—but the bottle lives on.
It goes first to a Materials Recovery Facility where the waste plastics are industrially cleaned. The bottle becomes one of many and has any labels removed and is compacted and reconstituted into a new form of recycling plastic.
In Peeblesshire, Scotland, there is an attractive bridge spanning a river. It’s no rickety footbridge, daily; it supports 44 tons of traffic at a time, some of it HGV trucks carrying waste plastics across the country. At ninety feet long, the bridge is the world’s longest of its kind. It was manufactured by Vertech composites, a company now working on other bridges just like the one in Peeblesshire.
The bridge is made entirely from recycled waste plastic.
The innovative structure is built with greater stiffness and strength than regular bridges. It will withstand all weather conditions. It doesn’t rust or need regular maintenance work to keep it in order and it doesn’t need painting. The most surprising fact of all is that it has a longer lifespan than any bridge made from timber, concrete or steel.
Our original bottle, one example of waste plastics out of millions discarded in this country every year, would have sat in landfill for decades.
Recycling plastic doesn’t end with building bridges; it is being used in the construction of railways, to build schools, boats and greenhouses. Britain has never had a higher population; the country is in deficit of social housing. People in this country are homeless because there isn’t enough social housing or money in the economy to go round. One solution is in recycling plastic.
Open your bottle of water—Stop! Think— is your worthless piece of waste plastic going to landfill—or could it be somebody’s house?