Most of us are aware of the environmental toll of plastics, especially if we have seen the horrific images of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. Google describes it like this: “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. The patch is actually comprised of the Western Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Eastern Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California.”
There is more
From Environmental Health News we read the following:
*Chemicals added to plastics are absorbed by human bodies. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
*Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison wildlife.
*Floating plastic waste, which can survive for thousands of years in water, serves as mini transportation devices for invasive species, disrupting habitats.
*Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater.
*Around 4 percent of world oil production is used as a feedstock to make plastics, and a similar amount is consumed as energy in the process.
All of us are concerned with the environmental and health consequences of discarded plastic. Plastic can be recycled and used to make any number of items. All that is required is a consumer committed to recycling and companies that handle the recycling process. At AMS we are careful to recycle and sort waste for recycling, and we take every step forward in the process when the means become available.
Plastic use is increasing
Since it began being mass produced in the 1940s, plastic’s convenience and unique usability has made it an essential for our way of life. It’s hard to name all of the uses of it. We have plastic food containers, plastic bottles, plastic hangars, degradable plastic, tape, paper, foam peanuts, silica packets. Container after container. If these products are single use, an awful lot of waste is being created. Globally almost 360 million tons of plastic were produced in 2018. Shockingly, in the first ten years of this century, from 2000 to 2010 we approached the total of plastic produced in the entire century, from 1900 to 2000.
What we do
Like all B Corporations, AMS is very concerned with the damages to the environment and ourselves with plastic use, and we carefully sort for recycling. The majority of the waste our company produces is corrugate and plastic stretch film (used for packing, wrapping, and shipping of many types of items). Recently we took steps to solve a problem with plastic film that had become very concerning.
Unlike corrugate which is recyclable, plastic stretch film in small quantities is not accepted in the majority of local recycling centers. Stretch film is generally made with linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) which is denoted as category four in recycling programs.
The AMS Green Team
Our Green Team was concerned that this stretch film was rejected for recycling, and therefore ending up in a landfill. On average, each facility receives an average of 60-80 stretch wrapped pallets a day, and with 5 facilities, that is A LOT of plastic waste.
AMS’ Green Team searched for a solution. They located a company that will pick up and properly recycle our bailed plastic stretch film once we reach 10K lbs. We have purchased 92 waste bins to distribute in all our warehouse facilities so our team can properly dispose of this waste, which will be collected, bailed, weighed, and stored for our goal of 10K pounds.
We are so pleased to be returning this waste plastic for re-use. This type of plastic is most often recycled into composite lumber, which is used for benches, decks, and playground sets. It can also be recycled into small pellets, which can be made into new bags, pallets, containers, crates, and pipe. It is a very good feeling to know there will be less plastic waste in the landfill due to our efforts.
We encourage everyone to recycle what plastics you can. Our Green Team is continually searching for local drop-off locations. If you’re interested in finding a location near you, please check at this link. https://bagandfilmrecycling.org/