Head into your bathroom right now and tell us just how many bottles or containers of your favorite products say they use “recyclable or recycled materials.” Chances are, many of those bottles do. But recycling isn’t exactly what it used to be, and many times, there are better options for helping the environment than recycling. We’ll talk about those better options today.
First things first, no, recycling isn’t ultimately a bad thing, but only when materials are actually recycled. The truth is, various packagings that say “recyclable” or “made from recycled materials” are rarely if ever recycled.
Let’s explore why recycling is not the best option when it comes to lessening your environmental impact, and what you should be focusing on instead.
What Are “Recyclable Materials”
Recyclable materials are fairly clear cut to understand. They are materials that can be reprocessed to create raw usable material once again. However, that never guarantees that they are used that way.
The term “made of or uses recyclable/recycled” materials is something businesses like to flaunt and put everywhere on their packaging because it makes them look responsible and “green”. But just because something can be recycled doesn’t mean it is.
Just because a container or package says “recyclable materials” doesn’t mean those materials or containers are actually recycled.
Different materials are recycled at different rates, and that’s because certain materials, plastic especially, can only be recycled so many times in accordance with its useful lifespan.
Recycling plastic downgrades its quality, meaning that a piece of plastic can only be recycled 2-3 times before it ends up in a landfill. Aluminum and glass, on the other hand, are infinitely recyclable because their quality never downgrades when smelting back down to reusable materials.
It’s important to remember that using recyclable materials doesn’t always guarantee they actually are recycled. For reference, the US only recycles near to 9% of plastic waste. Most of which comes from plastic packaging.
Aluminum, however, is recycled close to 75% simply because there is more money in recycling aluminum, and because there don’t need to be extensive sorting phases beforehand to sift through the previously-sorted material like plastic requires.
When considering this, and your environmental impact on the world, it’s best to consider purchasing aluminum containers or products as oppose to plastic ones. This guarantees a much higher chance of recyclability and the guarantee of “infinite” recyclability.
The Better Alternative to Recycling
Hands down, the better alternative to recycling is refilling. Refilling is like recycling without requiring the lengthy and resource-rich processes required to transform used material into reusable material. Oftentimes, those processes actually require the use of equipment that further hogs resources like oil, gas, electricity, and more.
Instead of throwing away that plastic bottle, refill it a few times. Instead of purchasing plastic containers, purchase aluminum or glass containers. Anything you can do to move away from plastic is almost guaranteed to be better for the environment over time, despite whether or not that plastic is “recyclable.”
Refilling is undoubtedly the more modern alternative to recycling.
The Truly Recyclable Products
Here at Volt, we’d like to bring your attention to what we call the “truly” recyclable products out there. These products use non-plastic packaging where possible, and can be refilled instead of recycled.
These products, due to their refill-ability, are able to avoid that lengthy processing phase as well as their recyclability by using infinitely recyclable materials.
Take one of Volt’s products, our beard wash, for example. We offer the Volt beard wash in refillable aluminum bottles (150ml and 80ml). Not only are these bottles going to be more durable and last longer than plastic, but they can be refilled and ensure they are never thrown away or require the processing to be recycled in the first place.
Now consider the Volt eco-refill packs. These are large aluminum pouches of Volt product (900ml) that are discounted, lowering the cost per ounce of the product, and saving you money in the first place. A single one of these refill packs can refill up to 6 of those large (150ml) aluminum beard wash bottles.
I’ll leave it with this simple question. What’s better for the environment? 6 plastic bottles which are recycled 9% of the time until they end up in landfills? Or a single aluminum pouch recycled 75% of the time and can be recycled infinitely.
Here’s a simple rule to start making a bigger difference on limiting your environmental impact. Reusing recyclable materials is better than recycling reusable materials. So if you can reuse it, please do.
Here are some of Volts products which are offered in reusable aluminum bottles with aluminum-pouch eco-refill packs:
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