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Recycling plastic: The disturbing truth behind the fairy tale

Updated: Apr 1, 2023


Most people grow up being told that we need to recycle?


So why is 90% of the plastic produced never recycled?


So what wrong with recycling in most countries?


Recycling is a fundamentally important process for a lot of different types of solid waste such as paper, glass, or aluminum.


But for plastics waste, we are suggesting that there are even more efficient approaches to sustainability.


***** Why that? Because recycling plastic means we must restart the entire production lifecycle from raw material, manufacturing, and logistics. *******


Activities that are often undertaken by multiple actors and that require a lot of resources such as fuel energies, heavy machinery, and substantial financial investments.


Recycling a plastic bottle requires a dozen steps going from collecting, distributing, sorting, categorizing, and washing. shredding, identifying, separating, extruding, compounding, packaging to finally distributing again.


These activities usually generate additional pollution, increasing the overall environmental footprint of the plastic material to be recycled.


Also, let's consider that a lot of plastics, especially single-use plastics cannot be recycled at all.


At an industrial level, the cost of collecting, manufacturing, and packaging newly recycled plastics usually surpasses the cost of producing plastic from scratch (from fossil energies).


So it is complex for recycling businesses to break even or simply make profits without being subsidized by governments.


So we are being constantly told to recycle with very little understanding of what it acutally means.


It should therefore be considered if reusing the plastic already created is not a better and more sustaianble approach solution to safeguard natural environments and people’s health.


Alternatives do exist, we must consider them whenever we are given the opportunity.






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