America stinks of recycling plastic. Why don’t we care? – Morning call

Most homes in my neighborhood have blue containers for recycling every Wednesday morning.

Some are filled to the brim with plastic water bottles. Others have jars of vegetables, bottles of beer and wine, cardboard, newspapers and other items.

I’ve always had the impression that my community is doing a decent job of recycling. I was sad to learn that we don’t matter much.

A recent report says Americans are terrible failures when it comes to plastic recycling.

According to two studies, last year’s recycling rate was estimated to be between 5% and 6%. defenders of ecologyLast beach cleaning and outside plastics.

“Given the additional losses that are not measured, such as plastic waste collected under the guise of” recycling “that is incinerated, instead the true level of plastic recycling in the United States may be even lower,” they concluded.

The preliminary estimate of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2018 was about 9%. The EPA has not published an assessment since.

Plastic recycling has always lagged behind other materials.

From 1980 to 2018, the percentage of recycled cardboard and paper increased from 21% to 68%, according to the EPA. Glass rose from 5% to 25%. The share of plastics has grown from less than 1% to just 9%.

“High rates of recycling of paper, cardboard and metals after consumption prove that recycling can be an effective way to return valuable natural material resources. The problem is not the concept or the recycling process, but the material itself – the recycling of plastic, which has always been unsuccessful, ”said The Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plastics.

They called for better policies to reduce plastic waste and pollution.

Some cities including Philadelphiaand some states, including New Jersey, banned plastic food bags. Leahy County was considered a ban late last year but county commissioners did not take the vote.

Also in some places there are bans on plastic containers for takeaway food and plastic straws.

The big problems are the long time it takes to destroy plastic in landfills, and the damage that plastic debris does to the environment, especially wildlife.

But I’m not in favor of banning things just because some people don’t know how to dispose of them properly. I. gained more enemies than friends if I criticized the straw bans a few years ago.

There are convenient opportunities for recycling plastic food bags. Too many people just refuse to do that.

Many grocery stores have containers for recycling. I return the bundle every time I go shopping.

These containers also come with plastic wrap, such as packaging water bottles, napkins, paper towels, bread and other products.

But the reality is that we all could live without plastic food bags. They are weak. They are weak. They are annoying to separate when you use a standalone oblique.

It will take some time, but people will get used to the fact that when going shopping, you need to take your own reusable bags.

If there were more opportunities for recycling, I believe – at least I hope – more people would recycle their plastic.

Residents of some communities, including several in the Likhai Valley, can put plastic food bags and flexible plastic packaging – such as bubble wrap, beverage bags, potato chips bags, shredded cheese bags, linen bags and greenhouse packaging in processing on the roadside. bins.

I. wrote about a new recycling option A few years ago, when JP Mascaro & Sons was the first in the country to offer it, starting with Potstown.

Since then, the service has been extended to other communities, including Alburtis; Palmer Township; Souderton; Township Warminster; Ambler; Norristown; Whitemarsh; South Heidelberg Town; Township Lower Providence; and Wyoming.

Hopefully this will become more mainstream, giving more people more opportunities to recycle plastic. However, JP Mascaro & Sons still remains the only carrier to offer this service, spokesman Frank Saw told me on Tuesday.

Municipalities need to have recyclable containers with lids to qualify for this.

Other packaging that can be recycled as part of the program is pet sweets, snacks, candies, napkins and baby food; bags of salad, bread, pet food, meat, cereals and storage products; diaper packaging (no new or used diapers), airbags, film and paper towels.

For recycling to increase, there must be more opportunities for recycling in public places. Much of what we consume is done outside of our homes.

I praise Wawa for offering recycling in its stores. I just want more people to take advantage of this. I’ve seen many lazy or inattentive people throw a recyclable bottle in the trash, right next to a recycling bin.

Golf course dumpsters are full of empty water bottles and beer cans. Why not have a recycling bin next to the trash? Because I guess someone will need an effort to empty and maintain it.

I put empty water bottles in my golf bag to take home and recycle. I think I’m doing my part. I just want others too.

Morning Call columnist Paul Musik can be reached at 610-820-6582 or

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