Are recycled plastics safe?

Are recycled plastics safe?

Are recycled plastics safe?

To answer this question, we'll be looking at an article "Why are laboratory consumables not made of recycled plastic?" based off of several papers and scientific studies.

The obvious plastic problem strangling the planet has been made possible by the idea that individuals recycling single use plastic containers is somehow environmentally friendly. The ugly truth is that 72% ends up in landfills, 19% is incinerated and only 9% is actually recycled. The products made from those recycled plastics have the possibility of holding contaminants from previous uses, like pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

"When scientists examined pellets from recycled plastic collected in 13 countries they found hundreds of toxic chemicals, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals. The results are published in a study led by scientists at the University of Gothenburg."

"Over 600 chemical compounds identified:

In a recently published study in Data in Brief via ScienceDirect, led by Carney Almroth, plastic pellets from plastic recycle plants in 13 different countries in Africa, South America, Asia, and Eastern Europe were found to contain hundreds of chemicals, including numerous highly toxic pesticides.

In total, 491 organic compounds were detected and quantified in the pellets, with an additional 170 compounds tentatively annotated. These compounds span various classes, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, plastic additives."

"Regardless of group number, recycled plastics can differ significantly from their virgin counterparts in terms or purity and mechanical properties. The reason for this is that even after cleaning and sorting, impurities, either from different types of plastics or from substances relating to the previous use of the materials, remain. Therefore, most plastics (unlike glass) are only recycled once and the recycled materials have different applications than their virgin counterparts."

"In the lab environment, recycled plastic can be used in applications which are not so dependent on purity, for example packaging. However, the requirements for lab consumables in terms of purity and consistency cannot be met by current recycling practices, and therefore these items still have to be made from virgin plastics."

Source 1

Source 2 

The evidence is clear that not only do we desperately need to reduce our plastic use, but the idea of recycling plastic that we were sold decades ago still isn't an environmentally friendly or safe practice. Recycled plastics should be relegated to packaging and not utilized in any lab setting or food industry applications.

Root Nerds and Seed Starter are committed to reducing our plastic use and developing products out of quality, durable, non-toxic materials. Generation 3 of the Aurora+ will be made of a new aluminum compound with higher thermal conductivity that is also lighter. It will be cnc'd instead of die cast and anodized instead of powder coated.

Sustainable materials, sustainable practices and quality products are our focus. The evidence speaks volumes.

"High value and infinitely recyclable aluminum is a material tailor-made for a more circular and sustainable economy.

-Recycling is a critical part of the modern aluminum business. Making recycled aluminum only takes around 5% of the energy needed to make new aluminum — reducing carbon emissions and saving money for businesses and end consumers.
-As a result, nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today, as shown by comprehensive industry data.
-In many industrial markets like automotive and building, recycling rates for aluminum exceed 90%.
-Industry recycling efforts in the U.S. save more than 90 million barrels of oil equivalent each year."

Source 3

Don't buy plastic if you don't have to. There are more sustainable materials available. 

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