Environment USA: Plastic recycling a "failed concept," study says, with only 5% recycled in U.S. last year as production rises

tom_mai78101

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Washington — Plastic recycling rates are declining even as production shoots up, according to a Greenpeace USA report out Monday that blasted industry claims of creating an efficient, circular economy as "fiction."

Titled "Circular Claims Fall Flat Again," the study found that of 51 million tons of plastic waste generated by U.S. households in 2021, only 2.4 million tons were recycled, or around five percent. After peaking in 2014 at 10 percent, the trend has been decreasing, especially since China stopped accepting the West's plastic waste in 2018.

Virgin production — of non-recycled plastic, that is — meanwhile is rapidly rising as the petrochemical industry expands, lowering costs.

"Industry groups and big corporations have been pushing for recycling as a solution," Greenpeace USA campaigner Lisa Ramsden told AFP.

"By doing that, they have shirked all responsibility" for ensuring that recycling actually works, she added. She named Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever and Nestle as prime offenders.

According to Greenpeace USA's survey, only two types of plastic are widely accepted at the nation's 375 material recovery facilities.

The first is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is commonly used in water and soda bottles; and the second is high density polyethylene (HDPE), seen in milk jugs, shampoo bottles and cleaning product containers. These are numbered "1" and "2" according to a standardized system in which there are seven plastic types.

But being recyclable in theory doesn't mean products are being recycled in practice.

 

The Helper

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Yeah, plastic recycling is bullshit. In the US we just shipped all that overseas.
 

tom_mai78101

The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host
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Yeah, plastic recycling is bullshit. In the US we just shipped all that overseas.
We're slowly declining our scrap plastic exports.



I guess that's a good thing.
 
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