When you place a plastic beverage container in a recycling bin, you are an important part of the product's life cycle, helping that packaging to be used to make something new, over and over again.
An astounding 70 percent of what people toss in the trash is actually recyclable, but very few people recycle as often as they should.
What exactly happens to plastic beverage bottles that you put in a recycling bin?
They are collected, sorted and ground into plastic flakes. Different types of plastic flakes are separated before being washed and dried. Then the processed flakes are used to make things like cups, trays, clothing, carpet fibers and so much more — including new beverage bottles.
Recycling not only reduces waste, it saves energy too. Consider plastic bottled water containers, for example. Making new bottles from old ones uses 84 percent less energy, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).
Understanding that every person plays a critical role in the recycling process, IBWA launched "Put It In The Bin" — a partner-friendly initiative focused on educating people about the value of always putting recyclables in the bin so they can be made into new and amazing things.
Recycling isn't always convenient, but it's worthwhile to do. When life is busy, it can be easy to forget to recycle. Consider these smart, easy-to-do tips that can help you make recycling a part of your daily life:
Location: Place your recycling bin near your trash bin as a visual reminder that recycling can be just as fast and simple as putting something in the garbage.
Caps included: Enjoy convenience drinks, empty them, replace the cap and recycle. It's important to remember that both the bottle and the cap are made from valuable plastics that are in demand by reclaimers.
Bring recyclables home: Outside of the home it can be difficult to locate recycling bins. Make a conscious decision to bring empty beverage bottles home so they can be recycled properly.
Plan ahead: Make space for empty beverage containers in your bag or car so it's easy to bring them home and place them in your curbside bin.
Set reminders: More than 90 percent of American homes have access to curbside and drop-off recycling programs, according to IBWA. Set an alert on your phone so you remember to bring out the recycling on the designated day.
Reuse: Think about how you can reuse items, such as transforming empty plastic beverage bottles into a beautiful holiday wreath. Watch the video here for details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_51YHj_4-o&t=2s.
Buy recycled: Purchase goods made from recycled materials to support the ongoing life cycle of products.
There are many things that can be recycled, but bottled water containers are the most common drink item in curbside recycling programs, recycled at a rate of 53.9 percent, according to the "Put It In The Bin" website.
In fact, recycling just one plastic beverage bottle can conserve enough energy to power a 60-watt bulb for up to six hours, notes IBWA. What's more, according to Recycle Across America, five recycled plastic bottles provide enough fiber to produce one square foot of carpet.
With recycling, the possibilities are endless — but it all starts with one small personal choice to recycle. To learn more about how recycling makes a difference, visit putitinthebin.org.