We\'re All Recycling Wrong, So Companies Are Finally Trying To Make It Easier
Berdsboro, Pennsylvania-if you ever throw a potato chip bag into a recycling box full of bottles and cans and want it to be recycled, you should know something: Almost certainly, it is now sitting in a landfill. The recycling center employee or the automatic sorting system will most likely find the bag and remove it from other household recyclable items. According to data from the consulting resource recovery system, 12 billion tons of flexible plastic packaging are discarded every year. Items such as groceries, dog food and snack bags are theoretically recyclable, but are usually made of layers of different materials at too high cost and difficult for recyclers to process. They entangle the sorting equipment, causing damage or delay to the sorting plant; They may become too dirty due to food residue or grease, without any value; They are often mistaken for paper, packaged with the wrong material, compromising the value of the entire batch of recyclable items. It is easier and cheaper for recyclers to send most flexible plastics to landfill sites. But as awareness of the environmental risks of plastic pollution continues to grow, there is a need for meaningful waste crisis solutions, and change is taking place. The plastics producers alliance, recyclers and consumer goods companies have a plan to allow people to throw chip bags and grocery bags into their household recycling bins along with their family\'s milk boxes and cleaning bottles. The work started on a small scale: a waste management company based in J. PennsylvaniaP. Mascaro & Sons is quietly running a trial of a project to remove flexible plastic from a roadside recycling pickup truck and convert it into a new product rather than sending them to a landfill. The company\'s sorting facility, total cycle, has partnered with a number of interested regional businesses to package used plastic into items such as car floor mats and drainage system equipment. This is a project with many obstacles and there is no guarantee of success. But those involved felt a sense of urgency to correct the situation. Frank Sau, communications director at Mascaro & Sons, said: \"It\'s only a matter of time before landfill space runs out . \" Mascaro & Sons also manages several local landfill sites. The company, which serves 90 cities in 12 counties in Pennsylvania, has received an amazing amount of flexible plastics, although people have not yet been instructed to recycle them. ( It will happen later this summer. At the same time, the project benefits from many misconceptions about what should be put in the trash can. ) Director Joseph Mascaro told Huffington Post that flexible plastics account for 1% of his total recycling, about 100 tons a month. In the coming months, Mascaro\'s company will allow 3,000 households to pack flexible plastic into the same roadside bin they use for the rest of their recyclable items. It\'s like opening a tricky fire hoseto- Recycled plastic. If successful, the company wants to promote the project to another community and then another. Ultimately, the project can be extended across the country, but it is a very complex task and it is possible to classify flexible plastics only in facilities with the latest technology. ( The old sorter tends to confuse this material with paper, and it is impossible to separate it by hand considering the size of the problem. ) Meanwhile, several large plastic manufacturers and consumer goods companies such as Dow Chemical, Pepsi, P & G, Nestle Purina and Target, to name a few, are learning from Mascaro & Sons how to re- Design packaging to make it more recyclable. A direct problem with this project is that it is well known that the recycling rules are already difficult for families to keep up. It can be troublesome to replace them. When visiting total cycle earlier this month, Huffington Post saw that the first step in sorting recyclable items was to pick items such as lawn chairs, christmas lights and garden water pipes-facilities do not accept but often find things in waste logistics. According to T. , barbecue propane tanks slide past and explode less frequently from automatic sorting equipment, resulting in stagnant activity within the facilityJ. Company recycling coordinator Stephenson So it\'s very dangerous to tell people to throw extra material in the bin on the side of the road. But the project has to be convenient or people won\'t be involved, says Mascaro. For example, plastic grocery bags usually need to be returned to the store for recycling This is not what people do. Only 1. According to Susan Graff, vice president of sustainable development of resource recovery systems, 7% of plastic bags have been delivered to recycling facilities, and the company has studied and designed the flexible plastic project being carried out by Mascaro & Sons That\'s why Mascaro plans to incorporate its new plan into the existing recycling collection instead of adding another step in the process. Although the company will replace the open bin with a covered bin to prevent the flexible plastic from being blown away, the bag will enter the same bin as all other plastics. Mascaro & Sons will go out to the community to explain the change before asking families to participate in the project, Graff said. \"We have to know very well what they can\'t put in [the bin],” she said. Another potential stumbling block is that there are not many products made in recycled plastic packaging. The best- What is known is a company called Trex that uses pulp and plastic film to make building materials for backyard decks. But Trex is not a partner for the Mascaro & sons project and it already has all the materials needed. \"They don\'t need more,\" says Sau . \". Companies working with Mascaro are still trying new products. \"This is the risk we have to take. \"We are creating a new product,\" said Sau . \". \"Someone will want it somewhere. I can almost guarantee that there will be more ways in the future. \"This optimism is shocking,\" said Martin Bourque, executive director of the eco center, a non-profit recycling company in Berkeley, California, which pioneered roadside recycling in the 1970 s. \"Over the years, we have been told [to] Bourque told Huffington Post in an email to collect all plastic containers-there will be a market if you get enough plastic containers. \"This is a disaster. A large portion of recycled plastics will be shipped overseas for processing in the United States. However, these materials may be contaminated to be easily dumped. Before the Chinese government banned the import of junk plastics at the end of 2017, China was the largest importer of junk plastics. Since then, municipalities across the United StatesS. Especially on the west coast, they have to cut back or cancel their recycling plans. China\'s Southeast Asian neighbors have also seen a surge in low shipments. High-end plastic from the west, causing countless things to be illegally dumped and burned. \"I am concerned that getting consumers to think that these films are also recyclable can lead to a similar disaster that ultimately leads to a loss of consumer confidence in overall recycling,\" Borque said . \". If the new product is not successful, another possibility is to convert the plastic packaging into fuel, and some local companies are already testing with materials from Mascaro & Sons. But it\'s going to be an expensive, last- Give up efforts, according to Stephenson. \"We really don\'t want to go that way,\" he said . \" \"This is not an ideal choice for the success of the project. Another concern for Bourque is that the experiment is supported by some companies responsible for many single businesses Use plastic packaging that will eventually pollute the environment. But this is an advantage for Graff. Graff said the cooperation of the biggest players in the industry is crucial to creating change. \"They are all working together. this program] Because they all face the same problem, \"said Graff. SC Johnson is a corporate partner of the recycling program described in this article. It also supported the Huffington Post\'s editorial independence series, submerged in plastic, but did not seek advice for the work.