There is a lot of concern about how much plastic ends up in landfills and the environment. It has been reported that the vast majority of it is not recycled.
I have questioned these numbers as it seems we recycle a lot of plastic.
There are two basic kinds of plastic: rigid like plastic containers and film like plastic bags.
I questioned the statistics as our recycling program recycles rigid plastic containers numbered one to seven with the exception of six (PS). Most containers are #1(PETE), #2(HDPE) and #5(PP) which are very recyclable.
Very few recycling programs accept film plastic.
I started paying attention to the garbage/recycling created in our home and the statistics became much more believable.
I realized that film plastic is the majority of the plastic leftovers from daily activities.
A lot of food comes in plastic bags. Meat is on non-recyclable (#6) Styrofoam trays. Boxes have plastic bag liners. Many other non-food items are in bags or wrapped in plastic film.
Film plastic protects food from contamination and items from being damaged. It is used to make things easier to handle.
My very unscientific observations have led to the realization that the amount of film plastics is the reason so much plastic waste is not recycled.
I have thought about other kinds of packaging that could be used instead of film plastic. There are not a lot of options that I am aware of with the exception of reusable shopping bags.
Film plastic presents a couple of opportunities for innovation: find a way to recycle it easily and develop new products that provide the same protection and convenience and are easily reused or recycled.