Thursday, February 29, 2024

Recycling Doesn’t Work—and the Plastics Industry Knew It

Hardly any plastics can be recycled. You’d be forgiven for not knowing that, given how much messaging Americans receive about the convenience of recycling old bottles and food containers—from the weekly curbside collections to the “chasing arrows” markings on food and beverage packaging. But here’s the reality: Between 1990 and 2015, some 90 percent of plastics either ended up in a landfill, were burned, or leaked into the environment. Another recent study estimates that just 5 to 6 percent are successfully recycled.