Recycling plastic is practically impossible – and the problem is getting worse

| October 3, 2023 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: October 24

Year of Publication: 2022

Publication City: Saint Paul, MN

Publisher: Minnesota Public Radio

The vast majority of plastic that people put into recycling bins is headed to landfills, or worse, according to a report from Greenpeace on the state of plastic recycling in the U.S.

The report cites separate data published this May which revealed that the amount of plastic actually turned into new things has fallen to new lows of around 5 percent. That number is expected to drop further as more plastic is produced.

Greenpeace found that no plastic – not even soda bottles, one of the most prolific items thrown into recycling bins – meets the threshold to be called “recyclable” according to standards set by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastic Economy Initiative. Plastic must have a recycling rate of 30 percent to reach that standard; no plastic has ever been recycled and reused close to that rate.

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