Saturday, August 27, 2011
The bad news concerns plastic shopping bags, in particular. According to the post Facing the Dirty Truth About Recyclable Plastics, the truth really hurts.
Along with the fact that plastic bags litter empty fields in places like India, where they simply lie around failing to biodegrade, the real dirty truth is that recyclable plastic bags aren't being recycled as much as they could or should be.
The reasons for this seem largely related to economics and the potential uses of recycled plastic.
But hold on! There's good news.
According to this post, things aren't quite as hopeless as all that.
Here's part of what the post said (and I quote):
Not only are beverage companies stepping up to improve bottle recycling, business innovators are looking for opportunities to make money from the ocean of discarded plastics that aren’t recycled. Components of the Ford Focus car, such as underbody shields, wheel arch liners and air cleaner assemblies, are created in part from old pop bottles and milk jugs. Not only does this re-direct plastic that can’t be recycled into more bottles, but it replaces car parts made of potentially non-recyclable materials.
Producer-led environmental innovation is also happening at even more promising stages of the plastics life cycle. For example, cleaning products: Replenish is marketing reusable cleaner bottles shipped without the 99% water that fills most cleaner bottles. Instead, a reservoir shoots pre-measured concentrate into the bottle for consumers to mix with their own tap water. Founder Jason Foster plans to license his design to other companies as well.
The tipping point on plastic bottles is also being carried along by cultural changes. The trend for smaller houses means less storage space and increased appreciation for smaller packaging. Washing machines with an Energy Star rating require HE (High Efficiency) detergent, which comes in smaller, sometimes non-plastic containers. A reverse vending machine would allow easy bottle returns and promises higher recycling compliance.
These innovations all require collaboration between citizens, government and producers. We’ve watched the auto industry lower their mileage and produce hybrids and electric vehicles. The beverage market, though further behind, is working seriously on its own problem – plastic. It’s nice to see all parties invested in bottled beverages — even producers — join in the solution.
So ... it's not all doom and gloom, is it? :)