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Goal 14: Life Below Water

6 reasons to recycle plastic

At #TOGETHERBAND, we have always advocated for recycling plastic - here are some of its biggest benefits

By hannah rochell
18 february 2021

You might think, given the trouble you go to with your household recycling and the zeal with which you use your Keep Cup and bags for life, that we’re starting to get on top of the plastic pollution problem. But a staggering 91% of the world’s plastic is still not recycled; instead it ends up in landfill, being burnt, littering the countryside, or polluting our oceans. 

380 million tons of virgin plastic is being produced every year, and 50% of that is single use, thrown away almost as soon as it starts being useful - for example, the 2 million plastic bags used every minute are discarded on average just 12 minutes later. Plastic production has doubled every 15 years since it first came into use just six decades ago, so although we’re all more aware of the issue, it’s not going away any time soon.

The only real way out of the plastic pollution problem is for manufacturers to stop making new plastic and to find alternative materials. But we also need to deal with the mess we’ve collectively already made, and we can all help to prevent existing plastic from entering our planet’s delicate ecosystems by choosing recycled plastic products rather than virgin ones. Here are six ways that using recycled plastic will benefit us all.

Proceeds from sales of Goal 14 #TOGETHERBANDs go to the WWF Tanzania Marine Programme

Preventing plastic pollution

We’ve all become acutely aware of the plastic pollution problem since David Attenborough’s documentary Blue Planet II in 2017. By recycling plastic, we prevent it from entering landfill or polluting the natural world. Our recycled Parley Ocean Plastic®️, which we use for the rope on our #TOGETHERBANDs and #TOGETHERBAND Editions, has a direct impact in clearing up plastic that has already made its way to our shorelines and waterways.

Saving energy

It’s a no brainer to choose recycled plastic when it comes to saving energy. Recycling 1 ton of plastic saves enough energy to power a household for 7 months, and just a single recycled plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W light bulb for up to 6 hours, using 75% less energy to produce than a virgin plastic one does. 

Conserving natural resources

Recycling any type of material, whether that’s plastic, glass, cotton or paper, reduces the need to take natural resources from the Earth. In the case of plastic, which is made using petroleum, it means we don’t need to extract any more oil from the ground which is obviously a good thing!

Protecting wildlife

In 2019, a dead sperm whale was found with staggering 100kg of plastic litter in its stomach. Everything from these majestic creatures to the coral they swim above is affected by plastic pollution, resulting in millions of marine creatures dying from ingestion or entanglement in plastic. And it’s not just a problem for those that dwell in the sea; for example, balloons released into the air can harm or kill anything from birds to dogs.

Reducing greenhouse gases

In order to make virgin plastic, it’s necessary to burn petroleum; this in turn creates a massive amount of harmful greenhouse gases. By recycling plastic instead of producing it from scratch, we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.

Creating jobs

Reaching our recycling targets (in the UK that means recycling 70% of our waste by 2025) would also create tens of thousands of new jobs. Our #TOGETHERBOTTLEs are made by Ocean Bottle, which, in partnership with Plastic Bank, is employing plastic collectors in some of the worst polluted areas of the world and paying them a fair wage for their work. 

Our original #TOGETHERBANDs are available in 17 different colours - each one represents one of the UN’s 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development - and come in packs of two so that you can share the second one with a friend to spread awareness about your chosen Goal and the plastic pollution problem. Whoever you are, wherever you live - even if you don’t live anywhere near the sea - simply by wearing your #TOGETHERBAND you will be showcasing a symbol of change, raising awareness and funding the fight against marine plastic pollution.