Plastic Lumber Yard Pulls Thousands Of Plastic Jugs From The Environment Each Year

Our plastic lumber is made from plastic sourced from recycled milk jugs and detergent bottles. So how many plastic bottles do we pull from landfills each year? 

Let’s take a look at one example, our Classic Folding Adirondack Chair made from plastic lumber. This chair weighs 37 pounds. 

The average empty gallon milk jug weighs just 60 grams. There are 453.6 grams in 1 pound. That means it takes about 279 milk jugs just to make one chair! 

While we can’t tell you the exact number of milk jugs and detergent bottles that are used each year to make our recycled plastic lumber products, we can confidently say that at the very least that number is in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of jugs!

Our hope is that we can help to prevent damage to the environment by using as much recycled plastic as possible.

What is Plastic?

Everywhere you look you can see or find plastic. But what is plastic exactly? 

The word plastic is used to describe synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that can be used in a countless number of applications because of the versatile nature of the material. 

Plastics are made from raw materials like natural gas, oil, and plants. These raw materials are refined and turned into ethane and propane which in turn is put through a heating process called “cracking”. The cracking process turns the ethane and propane into ethylene and propylene which can be combined together to form different polymers. 

Plastic has many useful properties. Plastic can be: 

  • easily molded
  • transparent
  • thin or thick
  • lightweight or heavy

The reality is that plastic can be used as a lightweight bottle for water or it can be used as structural lumber to build docks. 

Plastic has become a part of our everyday lives and while it can be incredibly useful, it can also be very harmful.

Types Of Plastic Infographic

Plastic Waste In The Environment

The world produces more than 380 million tons of plastic each year! Sadly, nearly 50% of that yearly plastic is used for only a few minutes and then thrown away. Despite efforts to encourage recycling, only around 9% of the plastic that is disposed of is actually recycled. The rest ends up in landfills or, sadly, the environment. Once in the soil or in the ocean, plastic can cause serious harm.

Microplastics

Plastic doesn’t just exist in the form into which it is molded. Scientists have found that microplastics can be found throughout our environment. Microplastics are small plastic particles measuring less than 0.2 inches in diameter. Primary microplastics are specifically designed and used commercially, often in cosmetics and clothing. Secondary microplastics are created when larger plastic items begin to break down. Microplastics are a major problem because they, like most plastics, do not break down easily. In fact, plastic can take hundreds of years to decompose.

Plastics On Land 

Larger plastic pieces can become stuck on the feet, legs, wings, and heads of local wildlife. If they can’t become free, they could lose an appendage, become easy prey for another animal, or starve. If they eat a piece of plastic while scavenging, it could cause intestinal blockage and cause death. Microplastics in the soil can also be consumed. Studies have shown that microplastics release additives such as BPA that can impact the hormones of the animals and people consuming them. Research has also shown that animals behave differently when microplastics are found in soil. For example, earthworms are found to burrow differently when microplastics are present. Given that many plants are dependent on earthworms, this could result in issues with growing vegetation.

Plastics In The Ocean

Just like on land, plastic in the ocean has a devastating effect on wildlife. Fish, whales, sharks, turtles, rays, and dolphins have all been hurt by plastic waste. To give an example of how widespread plastic pollution is in the ocean, 100% of all mussels that have been tested have been found to contain microplastics. More than 8 million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean each year and until steps are taken to stop this pollution, thousands of marine animals will die as a result.

How Can Plastic Waste Be Reduced? 

There are a number of ways in which plastic waste can be reduced, helping to prevent plastics from entering the environment. This includes: 

Recycling

As we previously mentioned, about 9% of plastics are currently being recycled. At Plastic Lumber Yard, our plastic lumber is made from 100% recycled plastic and we are passionate about reusing plastic. Our hope is that we can encourage others to find alternative uses for recycled plastic. 

Avoid Single-Use Plastics

A simple change in habits can reduce the amount of plastic you use in your everyday life. For example, instead of using a plastic bag provided by a store, consider bringing reusable bags when you shop. Or, instead of using a plastic water bottle, buy a thermos!

Other ways to avoid single-use plastics include buying razors that have replaceable blades, checking makeup to see if it includes microplastics, and avoiding straws!