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### Theory:

We find plastics everywhere around us. The increasing consumption and manufacturing of plastics need solutions for their disposal.

Plastics around us
Organic waste such as peels of vegetables, fruits, animal waste etc., are the rich source of nutrients. These materials get decomposed by bacteria present in the soil and are known as Biodegradable waste.

Plastics are a non-biodegradable waste as bacteria's presence does not decompose them in the soil, which is the major cause of pollution.
Most plastics are manufactured for one-time use and cannot be recycled, so they end up in oceans, land etc. This is due to the wrong disposal method of plastics.
Plastic waste finally ends up being recycled, incinerated, landfilled, dumped or ends up littering our environment.

- Plastic waste in landfills, dumps or the environment- $$79\%$$
- Plastic waste been incinerated- $$12\%$$
- Recycled plastic waste - $$9\%$$
Let us now see the $$5$$R Principle – Refuse (avoid), Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover (Compost and Incinerate).

Refuse:

Say no to plastic

Please avoid the use of plastics as the word suggest itself. Use bags made from natural fibre such as cotton, jute, flax etc.

Reduce:

Reduce the usage of plastics

Reducing the production and usage of plastics will bring a drastic change in our environment. The alternative source of plastic helps in improving the environment.

Reuse:

Plastic bottles used for growing plants.

Creatively reusing plastic will help in reducing the pollution caused by plastics. The plastic products made can also be used repeatedly. For instance, plastics bags can be used again if we go out shopping.

We can also give away the products made of plastics if we don't feel to use them again, for instance, toys.

Recycle:

Plastic is being recycled into useful products.

The better way to recycle plastic is by recycling it where the knowledge of resin code helps in this process. We know thermoplastics can be recycled, whereas thermosets are not.

This recycling process is challenging because they are mixed with different types of plastics, making it difficult to process.

Heating also results in the melting of plastics during recycling, which makes them lose their quality which is known as downcycling. Recycling plastic waste cannot be the only solution to plastic pollution.

Recover:

Waste disposal with electric incinerators

The waste in solids is converted into electricity, whereas the compost is through thermal and biological means. The combustion of plastic is bad for the environment as it will release harmful gases to the environment.

Burning plastics at high temperatures in incinerators, trapping the gases, collecting the toxic ash is widely used to produce energy.

Recycling plastics