Headlines about recycling are something I read regularly. This one from National Public Radio investigations last week really got my attention.
‘How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled’
The author’s investigation revealed plastics manufacturing companies wanted to counter the negative press about plastic waste in the 1980’s and 90’s to protect their profits. It claims that placing the recycling symbols on plastics and major advertising campaigns were done to make people think that plastic is recycled when very little of it is.
The main reason given is that recycling plastic is too expensive. It takes a lot of work to sort and clean and produces a low-grade product. Plastic made from oil is much cheaper.
The article also mentioned that recycling mills are hard to find.
It was an interesting coincidence that last week I received information from a plastic recycling company that has been in business since 2007. They have mills in Listowel, Ontario and Hazelton, Pennsylvania. They are checking the market as they consider building one on the west coast.
Plastic recycling does happen. The vinyl plank flooring in my office is 50% recycled plastic. It is used in fleece clothing, carpet, car parts and other items.
Sale prices are lower since China closed their market so programs based totally on sales are probably landfilling plastics.
The Extended Producer Responsibility laws for the packaging industry in Manitoba requires them to help pay for their products when they are no longer useful. They pay subsidies to help cover the cost of recycling.
I am confident that our plastics are recycled. If some become unrecyclable in the future we will not take them.