This is a tough headline to read: Recycling Not Yet Popular Enough. In particular, plastic recycling lags behind goals. With a concurrent effect on the environment. Just this year, more whales have died from digesting too much plastic floating in the ocean. Thus, we look at the actual current state of plastic recycling.

First, review these prior posts:


Research Report on Recycling Not Yet Popular Enough

According to Niall McCarthy, writing for Statista:

“In a new report, the Center for International Environmental Law examines the environmental impact of plastic production and incineration. It found that the plastic life cycle will add 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere this year alone. That equals the emissions from 189 500 megawatt coal-fired power plants. Emissions from plastic threaten the ability of the global community to meet carbon emissions targets. The research also looked at plastic waste. And it found only 9 percent of all plastic discarded in the U.S. since 1950 was recycled. While 12 percent was incinerated.” 

“The plastic floating in oceans, clogging canals, and coating our pavements receives the majority of attention from campaigners. Yet we often overlook its fate in the waste disposal system. The following infographic shows the total plastic generated annually since the 1960s. And shows what happens to it once it goes into the garbage. Given the little recycled over the years, it comes as little surprise that most of it ends up in landfill. In 2015, 34.5 million tons of plastic waste was generated in the U.S. With 26 million tons in land fills. 5.4 million tons ended up combusted for energy. With only 3.1 million tons recycled.”

“Given the global backlash against plastic, why so little recycling? Firstly, the difficulty of recycling plastic. And secondly, it represents 40 percent of production of plastic products. Even when recycled, the process involves many steps. Requiring separate collection. Long-distance transportation. Processing. And re-manufacture. That then results in high costs. As well as low value for the recycled product. As a result, the process is rarely profitable. And it needs generous government subsidies. An unknown quantity of plastic wage is mismanaged. Mainly due to littering and open burning. Although the mismanagement rate remains rather low in the U.S. compared to other developed nations, it remains a major contributor to plastic ocean leakage.”


Recycling Not Yet Popular Enough

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