Making Unsustainable Work: Polyester

I think we can all agree on how much damage plastic has been causing for most of its existence. It started out as a great invention that appeared to solve many issues surrounding natural materials that meant that they degraded quickly. Plastics are durable and can live for hundreds of years, but now with the mass consumption of this inexpensive material, its become more and more disposable. When you mix durable and disposable, you don’t find it going anywhere good any time soon.

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Nowadays, plastics are being misplaced pretty badly. They get left behind in public places such as parks from food packaging, or thrown away once they’ve served their purpose. They are purposely used in such a way that make it so easy just to put it into a trash can and forget about it. They can even be a flimsy material that once it snaps only makes it all the more disposable.

But could there actually be ways to deal with this now nightmare inducing material that litters and damages the world?

Recycle It Correctly

So plastics come from one particular source. Buried far under the sea, they’re extracted from compressed fossils of millions of years ago. This carbon based substance is made up of many different densities that can be divided up and used for different purposes. Because of this, some plastics are easier to recycle than others.

Some can be collected by your local authorities in the weekly trash collection, whereas other types need to be taken specially to recycling sites that deal with all kinds of materials. As long as you organize it based on the numbers that are labelled in the little triangles. Most recyclables will have this, but if they don’t then they might be harder to recycle. In which case, consider the next point if possible.

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Repair It

It can be a real pain when something breaks, especially if you still need to use it. Maybe one of your plastic storage boxes has a crack in it, but does it mean you have to throw it away? No of course not! How about trying to repair it? If it’s a something like a plastic ornament, try gluing it together again. It may not be perfect, but it’s so much better than throwing it out.

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Or tape up that plastic storage box. It might look unsightly at first, and be aesthetically unpleasing, but so what if you’re just putting it away in the attic or under the bed? As long as it can protect the stuff you’re storing in it, then that’s all that matters.

Okay maybe that item can’t be repaired to be used for it’s original purpose. So can you do anything else with it?

Re-purpose It

Yes, there’s definitely more that you can do with this item. Plastics can be reused again for something that’s different from it’s first use. For example, if you bought orange juice in a plastic bottle, that bottle could be re purposed into a bird feeder. Just pierce a few holes, put some long twigs through it and add bird seed, then hang it up in the garden.

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I’ve reused a white cylindrical plastic box which had stain remover powder in it. Because the label was easy to peel off, it become a pretty storage container for my makeup brushes. Sometimes little things like this is the perfect way to extend the life of those ordinary things.

Rehome It

If you’re plastic possessions are fully intact and you no longer want it, don’t just throw it away. Find a way to give it to a new home, either by selling it or gifting it to someone you know that needs it. Selling and gifting are the best ways to rehome these items as it shows there’s thought in where they are going next.

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It’s so important to think about how these items impacts the world no matter where it goes, even long after you’ve taken it out of your life. By making sure that it goes to it’s next new home, you’re ensuring that it will still have a purpose in someone’s life, instead of causing harm to the environment.

The main reason that plastics are such a problem in our society is our inability to deal with this material responsibly. Each and every one of us has a part to play in looking after our planet, and being mindful of where these items go and what you do with the is up to you. It’s true that a lot of bigger companies still need to play their part in dealing with polyester responsibly, but as a collective, if we all do our bit together, we can have more of an impact.

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