Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids – 5 Really Cool Facts About Plastic Recycling

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

One of the vital ways to slowdown or even stop climate change is plastic recycling. Let’s learn five cool plastic recycling facts for kids.

Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids Fact Number 1: Plastic Production Uses Harmful Chemicals

 Plastic is created from chemicals which come from crude oil and other gases, when these compounds are heated they break down so that they can be reformed into plastic with different properties depending on what they are mixed with or what the base ingredient was. The by-products of plastic production can end up leaking into the environment through waterways which ends up polluting the ocean.

Heating the chemicals used to make plastic also releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which contributes to climate change. If we recycle plastic we don’t have to create new plastic so this process can be avoided.

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Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids: Landscape photography of a factory

Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids Fact Number 2: Plastic Bottles Take 700 Years to Decompose in Landfill

Landfill sites are large dumping grounds in empty spaces or holes in the ground where rubbish can be left to decompose, unfortunately a lot of the waste we place in landfill sites take a very long time to decompose or never do. Plastic takes a very long time to decompose as it is hard wearing and tough. And they can end up in waterways from landfill following heavy rain or in transport to landfill. Then they become ocean pollution and can harm fish and other marine life.

When we recycle this plastic it doesn’t end up in landfill and can instead be used again and again.

Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids
Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids: Assorted plastic bottles

Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids Fact Number 3: Chewing Gum Is Plastic that Can Be Recycled

Did you know that chewing gum is made from plastic? Before the creation of plastic chewing gum was made from a natural gum from trees but now it is made from a polymer, a type of plastic. This also means that chewing gum is a single use plastic but the good news is that it too can be recycled.

There are companies which take chewed gum and clean it then turn it into plastic pellets. These pellets can be melted down to make new plastic items which are good as new. They make reusable cups and cutlery from them which further reduces plastic waste. What a great idea.

Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids Fact Number 4: Plastic Bottles Can Be Recycled into Clothes

Some clothing is already made from plastic, like polyester, this is because plastic can be flexible and long lasting. We can recycle plastic clothing to be made into new fabric too. But textile scientists have discovered a way to make recycled plastic into soft and comfortable clothes. The plastic bottles are cut into polyester yarn which is then made into fleece jumpers and other clothing. This prevents bottles going to landfill or ending up in the ocean.

Plastic Recycling Facts for Kids Fact Number 5: Recycling Plastic also Helps Save Water

Preventing water waste is an important part of preventing climate change and making sure we all have enough water to drink. Creating new plastic takes up a lot more water than just recycling plastic we have already made. If we recycle a plastic bottle rather than creating a new one from hydrocarbons and other chemicals we use 70% less water. That’s much better for the planet in more ways than one.

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Woman sorting out plastic wastes at home

We hope you enjoyed learning more things about plastic recycling as much as we loved teaching you about it. Now that you know how important the environment is to our planet Earth, you can move on to learn more about our environmental topics like: Recycling, Recycling Metals, Climate Change and Endangered Animals.

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