The reality is most recycling is a waste of air, water and the environment. The EPA standard is reduce, reuse and then recycle. Plastics reduce material, air and water usage. Recycle what is economical: cans, maybe some plastics, maybe some paper and then look for improved methods of disposing of the waste. Collecting plastic and paper and then using the material for trash to steam to generate electricity makes a lot more sense than forcing recycling. Plastic and paper can be melted together to reduce volume and prevents pests like rats, birds, raccoons, bears and other animals from learning to eat human waste. Melting plastic around paper makes a lot of sense in relatively clean sources like food-service. The cans have value, the food waste, paper and plastic do not.
There is a lot of discussion of plastics in the ocean. the major sources are Indonesia and China. Both countries are major markets for plastic waste. How much of the US plastic waste is sent to East Asian only to return by currents?
What is worse is the amount of “recycled” post consumer waste ends up in landfills, I have heard at least 20%. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour will just make recycling even more expensive.
Perfection is the enemy of success and becomes a marketers dream. I will sell you anything you want, as long as I get the charge you whatever I want. It is time to recognize that recycling is not the first step in environmental use of materials, reducing is. Reducing means economical use of materials, air, water, transportation and other resources.
Very informative article.
I have a problem with the phrase “A material that has a full functionality but biodegrades immediately at its end of life, is not going to happen. Never”.
I’d like to think that, apart from the insanity in the minds of some world leaders, most living animals can be considered as ‘fully functioning’. Yet they biodegrade pretty quickly (certainly faster than plastics) when dead.
That’s very useful information about PLA . I am from India. I need bio plastics to save earth kindly be posted..
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