Worldwatch Institute Analysis Says Recycling Rates Not Keeping Up with Plastic Production
Worldwatch Institute Says Recycling ISN’T Fixing The Plastic Problem
In a statement recently issued by Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource and environmental issues, the plastic problem is broken down. This report makes it clear that the problems caused by plastic far outweigh the advantages.
Increased Plastic Production and a Lack of Conscientious Disposal
People are using more and more plastic, and there are a lot of qualities of plastic that make it useful. However, all of this plastic we are using is not disposed of in a way that is not harmful to the planet and even our health.
Many people I talk with think the best way to handle the plastic problem is through recycling. Now even though recycling rates are on the rise, the amount of plastic recycled is far outpaced by the amount of plastic waste that is generated.
What is even more alarming is that the plastic that is not recycled either enters the waste stream as it is carted off to landfills where it takes up space, it is shipped to countries that process it in unregulated and damaging ways or burned to generate power, which also can spew hazardous chemicals into the environment. The final possible outcome for plastic trash is to end up as litter, where it can harm ecosystems, damage the planet, and eve enter our food chain. Think about that.
So What Do We Do Now?
While the current plastic situation is not ideal, there are solutions. We need to be more responsible and smarter about the choices we make in our purchases and also how we dispose of our plastic.
Incinerating plastic trash causes much more trouble than it’s worth and landfills are just no place for plastic as it exists for hundreds of years and the chemicals which were used to make the plastic can enter our water supply.
Plastic waste needs to be reduced through a conscious decrease in consumer consumption, and the loop must be closed by consumers once again by making the choice to buy items that are made from recycled plastic like recycled shopping bags.
We Can Each Do Our Part
We do our part here at FDP by helping companies and organizations to create custom recycled bags for marketing as well as at the retail level and additional outreach and improved education is provided by organizations like Worldwatch and even young activists like our friend Abby. And again, we all need to look at how much plastic we are using, because there are many ways to reduce plastic use through streamlining how we use plastic and finding alternative and eco materials.
Look for ways to eliminate unnecessary plastic by substituting single-use plastic items for durable, reusable products. When making purchasing decisions consider how items are packaged and whenever possible opt to go with items that are packaged in an environmentally responsible way.
Remember that while plastic is a worldwide problem, solutions can be local and small. Plastic manufacturers and industries that use a lot of unnecessary plastic need to do their part, but you can pitch in, too.