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Celebrating Earth Day: The Power of Recycling

CEO Kevin Dewhitt and CCO Brent Bostwick spent Earth Day cleaning up the Oregon coast with the rest of the PDO team

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, is more than just any other day; it’s a movement that began in 1970, just a year after the entire world was focused on reaching the moon, to draw attention back down to Earth. Over the decades, Earth Day has evolved into a global event, inspiring millions to take action in support of environmental protection. One of the most impactful ways someone can contribute to this cause is through recycling.


Why Recycling Matters

Recycling plays a crucial role in reducing plastic waste, conserving natural resources and mitigating environmental damage. Here’s why it is important:

  1. Reduces Landfill Waste: By recycling, we divert significant amounts of waste from landfills, reducing the environmental footprint of our garbage.

  2. Conserves Natural Resources: Recycling materials like paper, glass, and metals helps conserve raw materials. For example, recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.

  3. Saves Energy: Manufacturing products from recycled materials requires less energy than producing them from new raw materials. For example, recycling plastic into new products saves about 66% of energy compared to manufacturing new virgin plastic.

  4. Decreases Pollution: Recycling reduces air and water pollution associated with industrial waste and manufacturing processes. 

  5. Combats Climate Change: By saving energy and reducing pollution, recycling helps lower greenhouse gas emissions, which significantly contribute to climate change.


How to Recycle Effectively

While recycling is beneficial, it is crucial to do it correctly to maximize its positive impact and avoid your plastic ending up in a landfill besides your efforts. Here are some tips for effective recycling:

  1. Know Your Local Guidelines: Recycling rules can vary by location, but you can check with your local waste management authority to understand what materials can and cannot be recycled.

  2. Clean Your Recyclables: Rinse out food and beverage containers before recycling them. Contaminated materials can spoil an entire batch of recyclables.

  3. Separate Materials: Some recycling programs require separating materials (e.g., paper, plastics, glass). Make sure to follow these guidelines to ensure materials are processed correctly. 

  4. Avoid Wishful Recycling: Not everything can be recycled; items such as plastic bags, certain plastics, and some electronics often require special handling. The best thing you can do is either try to avoid these items or research the proper disposal methods for these items.

  5. Reduce and Reuse First: Before recycling, consider reducing your waste and reusing items. This is the most beneficial for the environment because you reduce the number of single-use plastics that have to be reprocessed or enter a landfill.


Recycling Through Pyrolysis

All of this can seem very intimidating to most people, and it feels easier to throw it in a bin and hope for the best. Realistically only 9% of plastic is recycled every year as of 2023 and the rest ends up in a landfill or our oceans. There is good news though; plastic pyrolysis provides a pathway for recycling plastics that are not perfectly clean and can be collected alongside plastics that can be conventionally recycled. Conventional recycling can only reprocess and reuse plastic so many times before it must be thrown away. Pyrolysis breaks down the plastic and produces an oil product that PDO calls Circular Polymer Feedstock, or CPF. Our CPF can be converted into virgin plastic, meaning that it has all of the same properties and strengths that the original plastic had at the beginning of its life. PDO Technologies is working hard to make pyrolysis the future of recycling so we can solve the world's plastic problem and help protect our favorite planet. Earth Day is a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to protect the environment. By making mindful choices and working together we can create a healthier and more sustainable planet for future generations. Let’s make every day Earth Day by embracing the meaning of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

The PDO team walking the Oregon coast in search of trash and plastic left behind on the beach.

PDO Technologies strives every day to make a difference in the world, even if it's doing the little things. Picking up trash and plastic on the beach may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of our plastic problem, just like doing your best to recycle at home properly, but every effort counts. If we all worked together to do the little things the right way every day then we can prevent pollution from getting any worse and starting taking steps in the right direction. PDO Technologies is grateful to have such a hardworking team who are all driven to help make our world a better, and cleaner, place.

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