Welcome to Empire Polymer Solution's (Empire) "In the News" page. Here You’ll find topical information about our industry, the state of technology and how it affects our environment, what drives the industrial machine and how it impacts each and every one of us; and of course, how Empire is helping cleanup the environment and what you can do to help.
Plastic – The Good, Bad, and Indestructible
A. Ashton 2019
The first synthetic plastic was created in the late 1800s and gave the world a glimpse of a revolution that would touch everyone’s life, and change it forever. Over time, plastics evolved and became more useful in the manufacturing world. Between 1929-1935 we were introduced to polystyrene, polyester, polyvinylchloride (PVC), polythene, and nylon. Plastic was able to be produced in white and various colors, which made it popular for more than just utilitarian purposes. Now plastic entered the world of fashion and design. Today plastics are used in almost every product you can imagine. Some plastics give metals a run for their money when it comes to strength and flexibility. Many plastics are much more suitable for certain applications that once used metal.Plastic is really a manufacturing marvel, so why is there so much controversy surrounding the use of plastics in today’s modern world? Plastics are literally indestructible, which makes them perfect for their intended use, but creates a huge disposal problem. Like many revolutionary inventions, the focus was on bringing new technology to light, with little attention to the potential consequences it could cause in the future.So what happens to all of this plastic? That’s a great question. Although the answer is far more complex than can be covered here, let’s talk about two of the solutions that are in common practice. Disposal Disposal seems like a logical solution, right? When you dispose of something it’s gone, never to be seen again, no problem. That might be the general consensus, but the reality isn’t so pleasant. Because, as we mentioned, plastic is indestructible, the most popular means of “Disposal” is to bury it. It is estimated that 44 million cubic yards makes its way into landfills every year.That is a lot of plastic and it just because it’s in a landfill doesn’t mean that we can just forget about it. Once all of this plastic occupies a landfill, the land is no longer available for other uses, like farming or housing. Over time, harmful chemicals can leach into the groundwater causing major contamination issues as well. Landfills also release harmful contaminants into the atmosphere, which further taxes the environment.Landfills are a finite resource. We are running out of places to bury all of this plastic, and much of it now ends up being dumped into oceans as a result. It has been reported that about 8 million metric tons of plastic is thrown into the ocean annually. The damage to our ecosystem is alarming, and the consequences have a direct effect on all of us.RecyclingRecycling appears to be the best solution for our ever growing plastic pollution problem. Instead of using valuable land resources ineffectively as a dumping ground to store material that won’t go away for at least 1000 years, that plastic can be recycled and used in the manufacturing process. It is estimated that between 4%-8% of the global oil consumption goes into the making of plastics. By recycling the plastics that already exist, we can save a tremendous amount of resources, and reduce our dependency on oil at the same time. The reduced manufacturing cost of using recycled plastics allows for a stronger manufacturing economy, and reduced costs to the consumer. If we don’t recycle our plastics, new plastics will be manufactured to fill the demand, which eventually will find its way to another landfill or into the ocean, creating a deadly cycle.There is one downside to the current recycling mindset that most people aren’t aware of. Most of us think that if we do our environmentally responsible duty and put our plastics into the little bin every week, that all is well. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case. You may find this hard to believe, but according to the National Geographic Society, and Great Britain's Royal Statistical Society, only about 9% of the plastic that has ever been produced has been recycled.Poly Free Planet, an organization dedicated to reduced use of plastics, reported that approximately 75% of the plastic you think you're recycling ends up in a land fill. Unfortunately, some of the plastic targeted for landfills actually ends up getting dumped in our oceans.Hope on the HorizonSaving the planet is a big job fraught with complicated obstacles, both technological and political. Fortunately there are dedicated people doing something about this mounting problem. For more information on some of these modern day pioneers, listen to Empire’s founder and president Frank Murphy about his strategy to make meaningful changes, in an upcoming video. There is also a link below to a CBS News 60 Minutes story that delves into the looming problems our oceans face due to the plastics invasion.
Empire Polymer Solutions (Empire) Ushering In New Solutions to Environmental Problems
Empire's sole mission is to rid the world of its lingering plastic problem. Using their extensive experience in the manufacturing and recycling industries, Empire is making a difference. You can learn more about how Empire is tackling this problem, and others, by visiting our About Us page or Click Here.Of course you are welcome to contact us at any time to learn more about any issues involving plastic disposal and recycling. Whether you are interested in purchasing materials for your manufacturing operation, selling material that you’re ready to dispose of, or simply want to find out more about our operation, just go to our “Contact Us” page, or Click Here.To read the 60 Minutes story mentioned above, please click on the following link: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-great-pacific-garbage-patch-cleaning-up-the-plastic-in-the-ocean-60-minutes-2019-08-18/Note: CBS News may take the above mentioned story down at any time without notice. If you find that the story was removed, please contact us so that we can update our website to reflect the change.
What About Curbside Collection
If you ask most people what happens to the plastic they put out to the curb in their bins they would probably say, “It gets recycled.” Those same people might be shocked to learn that much of it gets sent to landfills.A national collection program has been in existence for quite a while, but as mentioned, it hasn’t lived up to its original expectations. In spite of efforts to reduce the dependency on landfills and to prevent plastic materials finding their way into our oceans and water systems, landfills requirements are growing at alarming rates, and plastic materials of all kinds are harming our wildlife and sea life creating a dangerous condition for our ecosystem. In order to find a solution we need to study the logistics of the current collection strategies across the nation and make it easier for these materials to actually make it to recycling facilities. In addition, new technologies and innovations are needed to provide an economic incentive, otherwise good intentions will not be met with action. The good news is that there are companies working on these solutions at this time. Come back for updates on our progress!