We at Planet Protect – the Organic Sportswear Company – have been very busy as of late educating our customers about the myths of plastic recycling. Here in the Northwest, we are avid if not dogmatic recyclers of materials. However, the pervasive myth about curbside plastic recycling continues. First off, as we have mentioned many times before, there is NO such thing as plastic recycling. No milk jug has ever been made into a new milk jug, or water bottle or peanut butter jar. Certain plastics are downgraded for yarns, car lot bumpers, park benches and other simple uses. Billions of tons of plastic go into our landfills each year. Some are now trying to make fuel from this waste – also not a great idea due to the toxicity and CO2 emissions.
The plastics industry has been insidiously cleaver in creating the myth of plastic recycling – putting little symbols on the bottom of their products with the little pointed arrows – which mean nothing. All while lining the pockets of DC legislators willing to prevent any plastic manufacturer from having to use recycled products. The “virgin” plastic industry spends millions to prevent this from ever happening. Additionally, the EPA is heavily influenced by the American Plastics Council and American Chemistry.
The only real answer is to minimize the use of plastic, which is becoming more and more impossible. Going into a grocery store is toxic experience of epic proportions. Almost every item is in plastic these days. You can’t even find paper bags to put your apples in any longer…
In the coming years, the toxicity of plastic will become more known and understood by consumers, and the plastic industry, will be forced to stop putting chemicals into everyday use items that leach into our food and water. No tests are done by FDA either in case you are curious.
I recently found a great web site that sums up this recycling myth well: http://www.ecologycenter.org/ptf/misconceptions.html