Two people are living in a forest near a recently evacuated city, and they are getting their food and other supplies from there. They turn any natural materials into compost, but what do they do with plastic products, such as a bag of chips, while still being environmentally conscious?
What kind of plastic? In what form? Unless the plastic is easily degradable, they have some very good properties, which is way better than anything else they could make by themselves.
Depending on the situation, it is not about recycling but treasuring every piece of plastic as treasure. No more is coming for a long while.
Storage. They are lightweight and easily cleanable, non reactive (to my knowledge). Perfect for storing, gathering clean water, food, other material.
Depending on differing properties repurpose them as building material, tools. If have any surplus collect and store them, they will come in handy sooner or later.
Our rubbish contains everything you need
Only a small proportion of a cities waste is recycled, or reused. The vast majority is placed in landfill.
You would have an enormous wealth of resources in landfill. You can easily use it to:
- Furnish your new settlement for the 2 people
- Create structures and shelters
- Provide quite comfortable amenities
- Provide soil and fertiliser to grow food
You just need to wash what you use as often waste is pooled together, so bacteria from household waste is often mixed together (ie. don't get sick).
But I would recommend visiting your local landfill facility, you would be surprised at what is thrown away (perfectly useable TV's, couches, building materials, filters etc. - not what you would expect would be thrown away). It can be quite astonishing what modern-day city-dwellers consider 'waste'.
As for the plastics - you can opt simply not to use them, if you are concerned with their use. Or you could use them, and return them to where you found them when finished.