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What are the environmental impacts of recycled polypropylene?

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Polypropylene is the most common plastic material in the world which is used in the packaging of different materials. According to a study, only 1% of polypropylene is recycled every year and the others are sent directly to landfills. But in the present time, recycling of polypropylene is emerging as one of the most applicable options in the world. As people are getting more concerned about the negative impact of plastics on the environment, more and more used plastics materials are sent for recycling on a large scale.

The main advantage of recycling polypropylene is that the consumption of raw materials and fossil fuels like propane gas, petroleum, etc for the manufacturing process of recycled polypropylene is being reduced on a large scale. As per an estimate, around 400 million tons of petroleum is used which is around 8 percent of the world’s petroleum production. Among which 4 percent is used in the production of plastic materials and the rest 4 percent is utilized in ‘feedstock’. Unlike the production of virgin polypropylene, the consumption of energy for the manufacturing process of recycled polypropylene is reduced by around 88 percent.

As stated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the solid waste which is produced every year contains around 20 percent of the polypropylene materials. Since PP has a very short life, hence after being used they are sent to landfills. And it takes around 20 to 30 years for these thermoplastics materials to fully decompose. This not only poses threat to the environment but to aquatic life and animals also. Since the additive used in plastics contains toxins such as cadmium and lead, hence burning of these might release toxic gases into the atmosphere. Hence, recycling of polypropylene is the best alternative to solve all these problems. Moreover, in this way, the product manufactured from recycled polypropylene will all follow the closed-loop manufacturing process. The recycled PP can be used to manufacture a lot of products like clothing fibers, industrial fibers, food containers, dishware etc.

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