Plastic is Confusing and the Recycling Symbol Often Makes it Worse

Here is a great example – There is no good way to recycle film plastic at the curb but that does not stop companies from putting the recycling symbol on their products. Things like plastic bags, snack bags, and as I pointed out in my post on Renew Liners, certain multilayer film plastics which are not even made of the same plastic as plastic bags, simply cannot be placed in your curbside bin. They can’t even be recycled with your plastic bags at the supermarket collection bins. But there is nothing to prevent companies from marketing this plastic as being recyclable.

recycling symbol on bins with plastic

And as noted in a recent article in the New York Times, the recycling symbol is really far too confusing. Indeed, they note that we do not recycle nearly enough plastic. This is a free admission of the Plastics Industry Association as well.

Take a look at the plastic that you place out for recycling. Most of it has the chasing arrows…but guess what…most of the time, that product is simply not being recycled. Since plastic was first introduced into the market, only about 9% has actually been recycled. The rest has either been landfilled (about 80-90%) or maybe, if we are lucky (my note, not the Times) recovered for energy at resource recovery plants.

The authors note that plastic production has increased by about 100 fold since the 1960’s. And, to make matters worse, much of the plastic that we make is never really meant to be recycled….So what are we to do?

Extended Producer Responsibility is what some states are moving towards…I have written about EPR laws in different states…EPR shifts the burden from the consumer and the taxpayer…who are clearly confused, to the manufacturers. Further, there are truth in labeling laws being passed which would make companies claiming that their product is recyclable when it is not…like Renew Liner and others… pay a penalty for this false labeling.

Of course, and not surprisingly, many companies are pushing back against EPR laws and on truth in labeling laws…We will see.

Read The Full Article Here:
Trash or Recycling? Why Plastic Keeps Us Guessing.

Leave a Reply