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Who knew that plastic could be a water-saver? 👀

It’s true – plastics have many important uses in our modern- day society, from keeping our food from spoiling to manufacturing vital medical equipment.

But did you know that plastic also helps us to save huge amounts of water?

By reducing leakage in pipes and providing waterproof coatings, plastic plays a big role in conserving one of our most precious resources.

Here’s how…

📍 PVC pipes have the lowest overall failure rate when compared to other materials and are designed to last more than 100 years.

📍 Using plastics in modern washing machine drums reduces water consumption by 40-50%

📍 The production of plastic bags consumes less than 4% of the water needed to make paper bags

📍 Officials in Los Angeles recently released 96 million plastic ‘shade’ balls into the 75-acre Los Angeles Reservoir in hopes of preventing 300 million gallons of water from evaporating each year.

Ninety-six million. That’s how many black plastic ‘shade balls’ it takes to cover the Los Angeles reservoir. Why, you ask? Well, despite what has often been reported as the main purpose of these balls, the idea didn’t actually start with just protecting the reservoir from evaporation.

 

 

 

 

 

Yet despite their reputation for saving water, these balls were not put here just to reduce evaporation. The problem actually started with bromide, a natural substance found in salt water. Bromide on its own is harmless to humans, but if some of this salty water creeps into the reservoir and undergoes ozone treatment with the rest of LA’s drinking water, it can form the compound bromate. And bromate is a carcinogen.

The LA Department of Water and Power thought they were keeping tabs on these bromate levels, but for some reason, the carcinogen kept spiking when the water entered the reservoir. It turns out, when bromide and chlorine interact with sunlight, the reaction produces even more bromate than when the former interacts with ozone. Originally called “bird balls”, the solution was both odd and oddly perfect. Typically used around airports to stop birds from perching in nearby water, the black balls also turned out to be highly effective at keeping out sunlight.

“They knocked out the problem immediately, vastly reducing evaporation and eliminating the bromate issue” chief of LADWP Marty Adams reported.

So next time you hear someone telling you to reduce your use of plastic, don’t forget all the ways it contributes positively to society – even if it’s saving water! 💦

 

Published by

Neil Platt

Quality & Systems Manager at POLYBLEND UK LIMITED

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