The Great Plastic Recycling Hoax – Plastic, The most Non-recyclable Recyclable
I admit to feeling good about recycling plastic bottles. If I drink out of a plastic container, use a plastic laundry detergent bottle or a plastic shampoo bottle I feel as though I was doing my part by recycling the plastic container. The plastic would be recycled and turned into other things right? Wrong. Plastic is the most non-recyclable recyclable material.
I was shocked to learn that in most cases plastic can be recycled or upcycled once at best. What happens next? It’s headed for the ocean or landfill anyway. In addition, many companies find that “new” plastic is less expensive and easy to obtain so much of the recycled plastic garbage ends up in the landfill and floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in our ocean anyway.
What’s the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Out floating in the Pacific Ocean you can find the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). At the time it was measured it”…was estimated to be approximately 80,000 tonnes , which is 4-16 times more than previous calculations. This weight is also equivalent to that of 500 Jumbo Jets” and it contains an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. (1) But how? Why? Plastic is recyclable…right? Wrong.
Maybe someone sitting on a corporate office came up with the idea of recycling plastic to make us feel better about being so wasteful. Who wants to buy plastic knowing that it will be around for our children’s children to deal with? Who wants to spend 5 minutes drinking out of a plastic bottle knowing that it will be floating in the ocean for an estimated 450 years or more?
The truth is that over 90% of plastics are not recycled. (3)
As images of deceased whales and sea life full of plastic garbage flood social media one has to ask. Why are we still using plastic?
To make matters worse, the plastic waste is just the tip of the garbage icebergs taking over our oceans. In fact yearly, it’s take an approximated 1.6 million barrels of oil just for producing plastic water bottles alone. (2) The environmentally irresponsible methods our culture uses to gather fossil fuels and the impact they have on climate change makes spending 5 minutes drinking from a plastic bottle even more devastating and careless.
In addition to plastic bottles, plastic is used in tampon applicators, disposable diapers, disposable pads and tampons and nearly everything we use on a daily basis.
With so many amazing plastic alternatives available, how do we get people off of their plastic addictions? I mean, there are cloth diapers for all ages, menstrual cups, washable pads, stainless steel water bottles, dishes and forks that can be washed and reused…why do we continue to throw away plastic?
Are we that lazy or in such a fixed set of disposable habits that change is devastatingly difficult to make?
With all of the campaigns and information we are flooded with on a daily basis, how is plastic still a thing? I wish I knew the answer to this. I imagine that corporate marketing plays a major role. Until we change the minds of people making money off of polluting the earth, plastic will continue to flood our lives. Someone sitting in the 5th mansion eating caviar isn’t going to care about the planet while they are living an expensive lifestyle profiting from trash.
We must all learn new habits.
Leaving your home with a stainless bottle may be a new hurdle. Taking a reusable coffee cup in your bag instead of relying on a disposable at the coffee shop, learning to use reusable utensils with take-out and speaking up and telling the businesses you frequent that you don’t want plastic is a start.
Every dollar we spend is a vote. Every time you use your reusable cup at Starbucks, Tim Hortons and Dunkin Donuts you are telling the company that plastic doesn’t sell.
Every time you take reusable bags to the store, buy a cloth diaper or reusable menstrual cup you are bringing up environmentally friendly companies and helping to send a clear message to those providing toxic disposable waste. What’s the message? Want our money? Sell something reusable!
Money talks and mine is saying that I don’t care for plastic. What does yours say?
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