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Recycled plastic is used to make many different types of products. The type of product that is made out of recycled plastic depends on the type of plastic resin. There are several different types of plastic resin used to make different products. For example, HDPE, or high density polyethylene, is very tough, and is used to make rigid plastic containers such as milk jugs, film, piping, and beverage bottles. When it is recycled, it is made into pipes, pails, motor oil bottles and detergent containers.
LDPE, or low density polyethylene, is used to make flexible plastics, such as garment bags, grocery and garbage bags, some lids and bottles, typewriter ribbon, squeezable bottles and toys. It is tough, yet flexible, and somewhat transparent. When recycled, it can be made into pallets or new trash bags.
PET, or polyethylene tephthalate, is semi-rigid to rigid, depending on thickness. It makes a good barrier method, especially for use in soft drink bottles. PET can be produced in a thin film, such as that which is used to make Mylar. It is also used for flexible food packaging. When recycled, it is made into fiberfill, carpeting, or non-food containers and bottles.
A polyester fiber called Eco-Fi, or EcoSpun, was developed out of plastic bottles, and is used to make various fabrics. Clothes are now available that have been made from plastic. It can also be used for home furnishings, blanket throws, and carpet.
Other companies have come up with innovate new ways to reuse plastic. One company developed a cellular phone from recycled plastic, and another created a garden composter from 100 percent recycled plastic. Another company specializes in making custom signs from recycled plastic.
Recycling materials uses far less energy than creating them new. Between seven and eight percent of the earth's fossil fuels are used to produce plastic. By recycling only one plastic bottle, we are able to save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours. As the world becomes more and more eco-friendly and environmental hazards rise, we can expect to see continued growth in reusing plastic for our everyday needs.
Plastic is a recyclable material, but most of it does not end up being recycled. As plastic water bottles have become a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to have drinking water on hand, they have contributed just as heartily to the landfills. Around 38 billion water bottles are thrown away each year, and only around 20 percent are recycled. Because the decomposition process of plastic in the landfill doesn't begin for around 700 years, it is important environmentally to recycle this material so it can be reused.