In case you hadn’t heard, most of the recycling logos you see on various kinds of containers and other products are a scam.
This is especially true for plastics, most of which have never really been recyclable because of their chemical complexity.
California is taking this issue head-on by proposing legislation that will ban companies from putting recycling logos on their products unless they can back up that claim that the containers or materials are really recyclable. Unsurprisingly, the plastics/petrochemical industry is pushing back, The New York Times reports.
Plastic waste is an increasingly serious problem in places like Florida with thousands of miles of coastlines, lakeshores and rivers that often are the destination to improperly handled plastic waste. Worse than the litter problem is the fact that this material breaks down into tiny particles that get into the aquatic food chain that eventually ends up in our bodies.
Plastics: It’s What For Dinner doesn’t have an appetizing ring to it, does it?
There has been a lot of lip service about plastic recycling in Florida. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection still lists single-use plastic bottles as among the recyclables in municipal curbside programs even though they’re not. Polk, to its credit, injected some reality into this issue a few years ago by dropping most plastic containers from its approved curbside materials list.
It would be a step forward if FDEP officials could break their ties with the plastics lobby and speak with legislators about an honest recycling program for our state, which means honest recycling labels.
That may help to solve another problem that plagues local government recycling programs, which is the contamination in recycling carts.
Some of the contamination is the result of residents continuing to recycle the way they were told to 20 years ago when the plastics scam had not been exposed.
Some of the contamination is the result of residents simply using their recycling cart to get rid of anything that won’t fit in their garbage cart.
The problem is if there is too much contamination, garbage companies are not going to the expense to sort through the incoming loads to separate the good stuff from the bad stuff, so it all goes to the landfill.
There are solutions local officials, who keep saying they’re going to do something about the problem but so far haven’t delivered, could do to reduce the contamination problem.
First, of course, would be an active education program. That goes way beyond posting a short video on your Facebook page and hoping someone sees it.
However, it shouldn’t stop there because educational efforts often miss a lot of the people they should reach.
Some jurisdictions actually send people out to check on what residents are putting in their recycling carts and leave notices when the carts contain contamination.
Other jurisdictions have simply removed recycling carts from residences that continue to ignore the recycling guidelines.
After all, we don’t accommodate scofflaws in other areas of society. Recycling should be no different.