top of page

The Fib of Plastics Recycling

Reducing, reusing, and recycling are all great ways any consumer can show care for Mother Earth.


Without these, too many of our man-made materials end up in landfills, or in worse places— like the ocean in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (which is thought to be approximately twice the size of the U.S. state of Texas).





Of all the materials we ought to be recycling most, plastic can bring the most harm and pollution, especially in the form of microfibers and microplastics. It can alter natural environments, human health, and the welfare of wildlife.


For decades, we’ve been told that recycling our plastics can help fight this problem. But unfortunately, we’ve been lied to.


Apparently only about 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled, which is nowhere near the amount one would assume (or hope) when taking the time to separate all that out!


But it gets worse. The idea that plastic is even recyclable on the level we’ve been taught is pretty much a fable.


Big oil and gas companies have made billions of dollars making new plastic, while telling us that old plastic can eventually (and sustainably) be made into new plastic— but this has been shown to be a lie, because recycling plastic just isn’t economical.


It’s more expensive to recycle plastic than make more of it. In fact, chances are higher that if you recycle plastic, it still ends up in a landfill anyway.


**This is not an excuse to throw plastic in the trash, or insinuating that recycling is a waste of time. Plastic in the garbage is guaranteed to go to the landfill. Properly sorting and recycling is at least giving this material the best chance to make its way back into reuse.


What can we do about this?


If you (like me) are shocked by the truth of plastic, here are a few things you can do.

  • Turn to the other two R’s instead.

We can’t count on plastic being recycled and staying out of the environment like we thought it would. So instead, we should try leaning on other consumer approaches: like reducing and reusing.


“Reducing” means cutting down on how much plastic you use in the first place (especially single use). Reusing means finding other uses for the plastic you do buy or use, so it does not end up in landfills, the ocean, or other harmful places. (E.g. grocery bags, water bottles, building materials, etc.)

  • Turn to plastic alternatives.

In response to the world’s problems with plastic waste and recycling, some companies have stepped up with some great alternatives.


Instead of buying the same old typical products made of plastic— like bedsheets, straws, or water bottles— seek out these same products but made with different but more sustainable materials: such as bamboo, hemp, or starch.


It is critical that those of us who have access and the means to support the companies using next-generation plastic alternatives, do so as often as possible!


In the case of single use plastics (like bottles, plates, or cutlery), edible and health-friendly versions are starting to become more widely available!


A good resource for some examples is Plastic Free Living.




This recent public revelation about the truth of plastic recycling is just the beginning. We have a lot of work ahead of us — for the sake of the planet, the health of its inhabitants and ecosystems, and for ourselves.


40 comentários


Fraser Liscumb
Fraser Liscumb
15 de abr. de 2021

it Not the plastic that is bad. It’s we took the easy way out. We now toss people or anything seen as halving no short term use into the pile of having no financial value. If you are going to built it for the purpose of bring value to the community. Then you should be accountable for its life end. We now have the technology, but it does require 21st century vision to see beyond the negative Togo create a positive. In the best interest of a sustainable future. Has little do with money but how you deal with problems. Solving to deal with that garbage pile. In the middle of the ocean.

Curtir

My opinion I would say if all people support organic farmer and stores which doesn't use plastic and also to try to buy things which are not in plastic would be helpful. Also government all of the world should stop companies to produce more plastic. Forexample Rwanda is a small country in Africa. They stopped using plastic bags . You can't take any plastic bag there. Rwanda has been plastic bag free since 2008. The country completely banned plastic bags when other countries around the world started imposing taxes on plastic bags. Offenders smuggling plastic bags can even face jail time. But you won’t see plastic bags floating around streets, hanging from trees, and plugging up drains in Rwanda today.


Curtir
Fraser Liscumb
Fraser Liscumb
16 de abr. de 2021
Respondendo a

But to protect us from contaminants we need to get foodfrom there to here And then we have the reality not all land can grow various types of crops, we need to be healthy.

Curtir

Satesh Narain
Satesh Narain
15 de mar. de 2021

Nice article and picture!


I do not believe in recycling any more, but I still do it.

Am from Canada, a few years ago, I was in the USA .... and I heard someone said that a Freight Ship carrying recycle plastic was seen dumping all the plastic into the ocean.


What is also sad, similar plastic bottles as in the photo from all the Cola drinks are seen in the Amazon River in Perú, while travelling up river to the jungle camps ..... investigating healing / natural medicines. Also, even in the remote jungle villages in the Amazon (Perú), there are plastic everywhere - Plastic Culture even in the Amazon Jungle.


There is even a bigger shock, we all…

Curtir
Fraser Liscumb
Fraser Liscumb
16 de abr. de 2021
Respondendo a

The Tide of change is growing,due to technology opening a door that money no longer can hide. Once they cannot hide then they have to change or become accountable and that has a very high cost in the world of the young with no future but the talent to assure change. So keep trying.getting in trouble is simple addressing the mess takes time and a lot of collaboration.

Curtir

Well said. It all boils down to reduce and reuse (emphasis of course on reduce).


So sad that the % of plastic that is recycled is basically nothing (I've seen that statistic before). I've been reducing and consciously CHOOSING products that have actual recyclable or minimal packaging whenever possible. Unfortunately a lot of the time you don't know until *after* you buy it. ... that needs to change.

Remember we vote with our dollars. 😉

Curtir
Fraser Liscumb
Fraser Liscumb
16 de abr. de 2021
Respondendo a

No just make the producers responsible for end of life. We have the technology we have the software we have a lot of very unemployed and a country of innovators

Curtir

What about ecobricks?

Curtir
bottom of page