It is America Recycles Day. Is it a joke or is it real?
Producers of plastic need to be held responsible for the environmental disaster they have created! What do all those recycling numbers (1-7) mean?
Are we living in a fantasy world about recycling? For many years I have been so hopeful and happy as recycling has become the norm, but now new studies show it is not as wonderful as we had hoped. Only 5 to 9 percent of plastic produced has ever been recycled. The fact is, a lot of plastic packaging, even with those silly 1-7 numbers, is NOT recyclable! Companies and plastic producers **greenwash by claiming to recycle more than they do, and they greenwash by claiming their product is recyclable.
What about recycling paper, metal and glass? Are these recyclables? Paper, metal, and glass are valuable to recyclers, and do have a new life when recycled. Paper, glass and metal all have markets for their recycled material and can be recycled over and over.
Plastic is another issue. Markets for plastic are scarce. Also, plastic is loaded with harmful chemicals, and after being recycled the toxics become more concentrated. Even though the plastic chemical industry says they are recycling their products, the reality is very different. It makes me very sad, but I’m afraid the recycling of plastic is becoming a myth
“There’s a long history of corporations, and especially plastic makers, touting their products as recyclable to prevent regulation and public backlash. Many plastic items in the grocery store have a set of three arrows forming a triangle with a number in the middle—but it’s not a recycling symbol. It’s a resin stamp indicating roughly the type of plastic it is. The petrochemical industry created it to make consumers think the item is recyclable.” Greenpeace Report: ‘Most Plastic Is Just Not Recyclable’
Landfill or recycle: Working to recycle is still better than sending the packaging to the landfill. The plastic will sit in the landfill 5oo or longer years, where at least with recycling there is a chance, maybe someday, it will be turned into something new. Officials where I live claim collected plastic is turned into decking, siding, and lawn chairs. I still hope that is the case!
As a society we need to hold the producers of plastic accountable to create a product that can be recycled, a product that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals. Producers of plastic need to be held accountable for their product’s end of life.
Please recycle as much as you can, but also reduce the plastic that you use and plastic. Our planet and your health will be better for it! Thank you.
**What is Greenwashing? Pretending to be greener than in reality you are.