According to a poignant new report from Greenpeace USA, only 5% of the plastic waste generated in US households is actually recycled.
In other words, despite our best efforts, the majority of plastic waste ends up in landfills. This is largely because China stopped importing plastic waste in his 2018, resulting in a large pile of plastic waste in the West.
Since then, however, the United States has failed to get its act together. According to reports, the average American will generate just over 300 pounds of plastic per person in 2021, and in 2021 alone, he will produce a staggering 51 million tons of wrapping paper, bottles, Equivalent to bags.
“After more than 30 years, it’s time to accept that plastic recycling is a failed concept,” the report reads, arguing that the circular plastic economy remains “fictional.”
The report notes that plastic waste remains difficult to collect and is often mixed, making it “functionally unseparable”. Also, the recycling process is expensive and harmful to the environment itself, but recycled plastic can be contaminated with impurities.
The production of new, non-recycled plastics is also growing rapidly, and the situation is only getting worse.
Worse, much of this plastic is actually recyclable, such as PET and HDPE, numbered ‘1’ and ‘2’. About 20% and 10% of them are recycled respectively.
However, according to Greenpeace, less than 5% of plastics numbered ‘3’ to ‘7’, including coffee cups and plastic bags, were reprocessed.
And there’s not much optimism in terms of things turning around soon.
“Trade groups and big companies have pushed recycling as a solution,” said Lisa Lumsden, a campaigner for Greenpeace USA. French media agency“By doing so, they avoided all responsibility for making sure the recycling actually worked”.
Lumsden named Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever and Nestle among others as some of the worst offenders.
To seize the chance to make a difference, Greenpeace is calling on the United Nations to push forward with a ‘refill and reuse’ strategy. AFPMore.
It is part of the United Nations Global Plastics Convention, which legally binds member states on a trajectory to tackle the plastic pollution crisis by 2024.
“Instead of greenwashing and misleading the American public, the industry should support an ambitious global plastics treaty that will finally end the plastic age,” Ramsden added.
read more: Reportedly, only 5% of plastic waste generated in the US last year was recycled [The Guardian]
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