One of the most popular world crisis topics of the past few years has been the use of single-use plastics. The lack of concern about what we put into our planet every day is why our planet and its living creatures are suffering. One problem leading to this epidemic is the improper disposal techniques used when getting rid of single-use plastics such as plates, straws, and bottles. One of the biggest problems, however, comes from the improper disposal of bottle caps found on plastic water and soda bottles.
The Green Team, an organization of Greenville University, understands the importance of recycling properly and has created a project that brings awareness to this issue. Cheyanne Hulvey, a member of the Green Team, gave some insight into this problem and how they, along with the entire school, can help bring awareness to this issue.
The plastic used to make a bottle is not the same plastic used for the cap. Therefore, the cap cannot be recycled properly when both are recycled together. Less than half of bottle caps are recycled properly. They are also the second most littered item, the first being cigarette butts, and are in the top five for most harmful waste that can be found in the ocean. Furthermore, about 1 million caps make up the 8 million pounds of plastic that goes into the ocean every year. The final fact Hulvey shared about bottle caps is that small plastic particles, such as bottle caps, have been found in the stomachs of birds and other small animals because they mistake it for food.
To address this problem, the Green Team has begun a project that the whole campus of Greenville University can participate in. All around campus, specifically in the Dining Commons, the Rec, Snyder Hall, and the Union, you will find boxes with the poster to the left. Here you can donate your used bottle caps. By the end of the semester, the Green Team is hoping to collect enough in order to create a bench out of the recycled bottle caps.
Hulvey also shared the process of the actual recycling of the bottle caps. First, the plastic must be sorted since not all plastics are the same. Once sorted, the plastics are cleaned of bacteria and other non-plastics. They are then shredded down into smaller pieces known as plastic snowflakes. Once small enough, the plastic is then melted down and poured into the desired mold. Hulvey says a bench has about nine different parts to it.
All in all, this project is a great way to bring awareness about our misuse of single-use plastics and will greatly help in cutting down the improper techniques used when recycling bottle caps. This is also not the only project the Green Team is doing this semester. Every Monday from 9:30-10:30, the team will go around the community and pick up trash. Hulvey says:
“It is now our responsibility to take care and clean up our communities.”
The Green Team is also looking into providing a hiking day for campus at Shawnee National Park. It will give students the chance to have fun with friends and to connect more with God and nature. Overall, the Green Team is truly striving to help our community and our planet has a whole.