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Is recycling a waste of time? The reality is that only 6% of plastic is recycled


Plastic recycling is a myth, according to the environmental NGO Greenpeace. In its latest report published a few days ago, the organization states that less than 6 percent of household plastic waste in the US was recycled last year, arguing that plastic recycling is a “myth” used by big oil companies, industrial groups and large corporations (such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo or Nestlé) to greenwash their responsibility for the world’s plastic problem.


the dark reality

The vast majority of plastic waste generated by households ends up in landfills . This is the sad and bleak reality. Called “Circular Claims Fall Flat Again,” the report is a follow-up to another by Greenpeace that looked at the types of plastic accepted at around 370 recycling plants in the US and found that only a few common plastics can be legitimately recycled. The rest are sent to landfill or incinerated.

Greenpeace believes it has propagated the idea that the problem of plastic pollution can be easily solved through recycling when, in reality, the situation is much more complex.

The document points out the difficulty of collecting waste; then classify them correctly to recycle, and later, the panorama of the mediocre market that exists to create recycled plastic products.

For a plastic to be recycled, it must meet the definition of “recyclable” used by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) new plastics economy initiative, the report found. The report found that polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) products have reprocessing rates of 20.9 percent and 10.3 percent, which are used in bottles and jugs, the two most widely used plastics. popular in the US

Recycling plastic, a myth

These numbers are “well below the 30 percent threshold set by the EMF to determine whether a plastic product is recyclable in a region,” according to the Greenpeace report. And it is that, although they often carry the recycling symbol on their labels, products that use plastics from ‘3’ to ‘7’ do not meet the FTC recyclable classification because the recycling facilities for these types of plastics are not available to a ‘substantial majority’ of the population.

“Corporations like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever have worked with industry front groups to promote plastic recycling as the solution to plastic waste for decades. But the data is clear: in practical terms, most plastic is not recyclable. The real solution is to switch to reuse and recharge systems,” said Lisa Ramsden, senior plastics activist at Greenpeace USA, in a press release.

As plastic debris continues to pollute the environment and scientists continue to unravel the extent of the disaster, many experts believe that addressing the problem at the source is the ideal approach.

“We are at a decision point on plastic pollution. It’s time for corporations to turn off the plastic faucet. Instead of continuing to greenwash and mislead the American public, the industry should get on the right side of history this November and support an ambitious Global Plastics Treaty that will finally end the age of plastic by significantly decreasing production and increasing recharging and reuse,” added Ramsden.

Referencia: Circular Claims Fall Flat again 2022 Update Greenpace

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