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Recycling Hasn’t Slowed the Deluge of Plastic Pouring Into Oceans

Recycling Hasn’t Slowed the Deluge of Plastic Pouring Into Oceans | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

[Opinion of Marvin Burman, founder of OceanHero, the eco-friendly search engine that provides funding for ocean-bound plastic waste cleanup and recycling infrastructure development. To learn more visit oceanhero.today.]

 

The recycling industry is drowning in secrets that put our oceans, and the Earth’s future, at risk. It’s a good time to take a deep dive into three secrets about this green industry’s black underbelly.

 

We dramatically underestimate how much ocean-bound plastic waste we generate. Research shows recycling hasn’t slowed the deluge of plastic pouring into oceans. That’s partly because only 9% of the plastic produced ever gets recycled. Scientists estimate at least 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean annually.

 

You’re Not Actually Recycling

 

When you toss a plastic bottle into your recycling bin, you may envision it carted off to a shiny factory where an expert team efficiently breaks it down and turns it into something new. But the truth is far from shiny. It’s downright grungy.

 

Historically, at least half of that plastic you thought you recycled never made it to your local recycling center. It got shipped overseas.

 

A lack of global plastic waste regulations means plastic dumping in impoverished countries goes unchecked. In places like Manilla, Philippines, some streets literally overflow with plastic. These areas don’t have local infrastructure to manage their own plastic waste problems, let alone imported trash. So, plastic gushes into streams, rivers, and oceans.

 

It’s outrageous that companies continue to manufacture single-use plastics, dupe the public into thinking it’s easily recyclable, and pass the buck to ocean-adjacent communities that are incapable of dealing with the crisis.

 

Tackling the problem

 

Scientists say we must do three things to stem the plastic tide.

 

  1. Slow ocean-bound waste plastic at the source*.

 

  1. Incentivize the collection and repurposing of ocean-bound waste plastic.

 

  1. Help nations develop local recycling infrastructure

 

As governments drag their feet on developing a comprehensive global solution, individual people wonder how they might help.

 

*While we work to pick up and repurpose plastic already polluting the earth, it’s vital that we don’t add more to the plastic waste heap. There are simple steps you can take to create small plastic waste reduction wins in your daily life. First, immediately eliminate single-use plastics from your routine. Buy products in sustainable packaging. Increasingly, brands are swapping plastic for paper or glass. When you buy these products, you’re sending a message with your wallet.

 

johnmacknewtown's insight:

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) is considering recommending that the township implement a single-use plastics ordinance. Similar ordinances have been adopted or are being considered in Solebury, West Chester, Philadelphia, Doylestown Township and Borough and Lower Makefield Township.

 

To better understand how local business use single-use plastic items - bags and carry-out containers - the EAC requests that you complete its Single-Use Plastics Business Survey. Your response to this survey will help EAC to provide a recommendation to the township that is most appropriate for local businesses.

 

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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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