We have to tell you even though its hard to read – recycling is a fantasy.
The intention is good because recycling certain materials such as paper, glass or stainless steel works well, although, with extra energy costs for the planet that aren´t always mentioned.
Governments and companies have been telling you for years to recycle; that reusing materials is the best thing for the planet, including plastics.
They try to make us believe that recycling plastic is just as efficient as other materials – they´re selling us a lie.
THE RECYCLING LIES:
1. The materials
The first reason why the recycling of plastic is a lie is based on the materials.
Its time to go to the supermarket. As soon as you enter you see them; polystyrene trays surrounded by low intensity polyethylene film hugging the apples. You get to the drinks section and PET water bottles with polypropylene caps greet you as you pass by. You take another turn towards the checkout and find hundreds of cleaning products in high density polyethylene bottles.
How does your body feel? Are you able to remember the first type of plastic you came in contact with? A plastic cup, fork or a toy at nursery?/span>
There are many plastics and not all are easily recyclable. Within the triangle recycling symbol there are in fact 80,000 types of plastic resins, which means that to recycle properly each type of plastic would require thousands of different recycling processes. In fact plastics that we see every day in bags, kitchen film, food trays or protectors such as “porexpan”, are extremely difficult to recycle. .
This is the principle problem of the recycling of plastics – the materials.
We already know that of all the plastics that reach our hands, only a few are easily recyclable, but what happens when all the plastic in your shopping trolley comes home? What percentage of your packaging ends up in the in the recycling bin?
According to the European Commission “only 30% of plastics will be recycled”. That means 70% of all plastics consumed in Europe immediately ends up in landfill sites..
But there´s more……
3. The recycling process
Of the 30% of plastics that are collected, not everything is recycled. For several reasons:
- The difficulty of separating the different types of plastic for recycling; as we told you at the beginning, there are many types of plastic that must be recycled separately. The difficulty lies in the fact that if different types of plastics are mixed with another in the process, the lot is considered lost.
- The low profitability of recycling plastics when the raw material is cheaper
- The impossibility of classifying small plastics such as plugs, bottle caps, etc.
- The low demand to recycle plastics with low volume in the market
And even if the recycling process is completed, in the case of plastic we would not even be talking about recycling but rather about down-cycling, since the resulting material has less quality than the original raw material.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Given this scenario there are several actions you can take to help reduce plastic waste:
1. Reduce your use of plastic
The best alternative to recycling is reduction. Avoid overpacked products, look for alternatives without plastic and switch to reusable ones. You already know that in our store we have everything you need to get started: personal care products, kitchen ustensils and household cleaning, packaging and bottles, baby items…
2. Reuse the plastic you already have
If you have plastic objects, don´t throw it all away in one go, use them until they break. This will prevent more plastic waste from ending up in nature. There are exceptions to this rule with plastics that relate to your health, such as food containers, baby spoons or toys, anything that touches the mouth. But with all your plastic items before throwing them away, consider giving them a new life. For example, you can use your old tupperware as paint mixers, paper-clip holder or ice cube trays as nail boxes.
3. Crea conciencia acerca del reciclaje
We speak to people everyday about living a zero waste life and some people say ´I recycle everything´ thinking this is enough. We all have good intentions and no one likes being the nag and sharing this blog 😉 so the people around you can see the real impact of recycling and reducing waste.
We hope this post has been useful to better understand how plastic recycling works.
And now, what are you going to do with that old tupperware box in your cupboard?
Do you want to know more about the problem of plastic? Head over to our book section and to learn more.