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Recycling

New Greenpeace Report: Plastic Recycling Is A Dead-End Street

Washington, DC - Most plastic simply cannot be recycled, a new Greenpeace USA report concludes. Circular Claims Fall Flat Again, released today, finds that U.S. households generated an estimated 51 million tons of plastic waste in 2021, only 2.4 million tons of which was recycled. The report also finds that no type of plastic packaging in the U.S. meets the definition of recyclable used by either the Federal Trade Commission or the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy (EMF NPE) Initiative. Plastic recycling was estimated to have declined to about 5–6% in 2021, down from a high of 9.5% in 2014 and 8.7% in 2018. At that time, the U.S. exported millions of tons of plastic waste to China and counted it as recycled even though much of it was burned or dumped.

Can Urban Mining Help To Save The Planet?

We live in an era of mass overproduction. Offices, apartments, cars, ships, aeroplanes, mobile phones, laptops, batteries, televisions, furniture, air fryers, hot tubs, elevators and escalators. A countless multitude of objects that belong to the anthroposphere – a term for everything that people have made and how it all interacts with the planet. Many of these products end up as waste, buried in landfill, incinerated or dumped – with catastrophic environmental consequences. At the same time, mining companies continue to pollute the planet, exploit local communities and produce huge CO2 emissions in the drive to make more products. But what if there was a way to use what we already have, instead of mining for more raw materials?

City Denies Controversial Metal Scrapper Southside Recycling’s Permit

East Side, Chicago — The city’s health department Friday rejected the final permit needed for a controversial metal scrapper to open on the Southeast Side, a victory for local activists who spent years organizing to block the industrial facility’s move from the North Side. Southside Recycling, owned by Reserve Management Group, will not be permitted to move troubled scrapper General Iron’s assets and employees to 11600 S. Burley Ave. in East Side. Reserve Management Group spent $80 million in anticipation of a permit for the facility at the Burley Avenue campus, where the Ohio-based firm operates four other recycling facilities, company officials said. Since General Iron’s plans to leave Lincoln Park were finalized in 2019, Southeast Siders have resisted the plan to open another industrial facility in an “area of environmental justice concern” for state regulators.

Corporations Tried To Blame You For The Plastic Crisis

If you’ve ever tossed a plastic water bottle in a trash can and felt a wave of guilt wash over you, well, judging by its marketing campaigns, that’s exactly how the packaging industry planned it. Consider this recent public service announcement, where two uncanny squirrel puppets sit in a tree, watching passerby on the sidewalk and cheering when they put plastic bottles in the recycling bin. A man nearly throws a bottle in the trash (gasp!), but at the last moment, puts it away in his bag to “recycle later.” “Way to go, Mr. Brown Shoes!” one squirrel says. Then a message pops up on the screen: “Recycle your bottles like everyone’s watching.” This ad is from Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit backed by big corporations (think Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Nestlé) that’s been delivering versions of that message for more than half a century.

Baltimore Aspires To ‘Zero Waste’ But Recycles Only A Fraction Of Its Plastic

Baltimore, Maryland — Leaders here aspire to create a city with zero waste. But new research shows that Baltimore has only attained an estimated residential plastic recycling rate of 2.1 percent, far below the national average of about nine percent. The report, by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a coalition of 800 groups and individuals who advocate for zero waste, found that Baltimore’s plastic recycling rate was the lowest of the five cities surveyed, which included Minneapolis, Minnesota; Long Beach, California; Newark, New Jersey; and Detroit, Michigan. “Well, I’m not surprised because plastics recycling has been an abysmal failure despite the millions of dollars spent by the plastics industry trying to get the public to believe that you can actually recycle plastics,” said Judith Enck, a former regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the president of Beyond Plastics, an organization that seeks to end plastics pollution.

Recycling Is Not Enough. Zero-Packaging Stores Show We Can Kick Our Plastic Addiction

Zero-packaging stores show, in their own small way, a viable and healthier alternative to the current system. Both for ourselves, local economies and the planet. Wrapped, sealed, boxed, cling-filmed and vacuum packed. We have become used to consumables being packaged in every way imaginable. The history of “packaging” goes back to the first human settlements. First leaves, gourds and animals skins were used. Then ceramics, glass and tin. Then paper and cardboard. But with the invention of plastic and the celebration of “throwaway living” since the 1950s, the environmental costs of an overpackaged world have become manifest.

Going To Jail For Recycling

This week on Act Out! water wars in the west are heating up – and did you know you could go to jail for more than a year for recycling? Next, Iran is on our shit list now more than ever – but why? And who actually deserves that prime spot? Finally, Michelle Saahene joins us to talk about the Starbucks call heard round the world – she was there and as a black woman, she has a few things to say about the layers of racism manifested in that incident and beyond.

Mexican Corp Turns Plastic Into Eco-Friendly, Affordable Homes

By Amanda Froelich for True Activist - There are many problems on this planet in need of remedy, two of which are plastic pollution and extreme poverty. Every year, enough plastic is thrown away to circle the globe four times. Much of this makes its way into the oceans (an estimated 10-20 tons) from landfills and continues to swirl in garbage patches, leaking toxins into the oceans and killing off wildlife that consumes it unsuspectingly. In addition, roughly 1.2 billion people now live in extreme poverty worldwide or subsist on less than $1.25 per day.

New ‘Zero Waste Hierarchy’ Is For Everyone

The Zero Waste Hierarchy describes a progression of policies and strategies to support the Zero Waste system, from highest and best to lowest use of materials. It is designed to be applicable to all audiences, from policy makers to industry and the individual. It aims to provide greater depth for internationally- recognized 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle); to encourage policy, activity and investment at the top of the hierarchy, and to provide guide for those who develop systems or products that move us closer to Zero Waste. It enhances the Zero Waste definition by providing guidance for planning and a way to evaluate proposed solutions. The Zero Waste Hierarchy 5.0 was adopted by the International Zero Waste Alliance in March 2013, and Zero Waste Canada with an international team of Zero Waste experts drafted the current version 6.0 which was adopted by both ZWIA and Zero Waste Canada in December 2014.
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