Forever Plastic

I caught this documentary Forever Plastic last week. It was really interesting to see how the world has changed because of plastic. It seems like plastic has always been around. Of course, this might be the problem.

Plastic is always around.

I was shocked to learn that the recyclable logo doesn’t mean what I thought it did. I assumed every time I saw the triangle logo, that the product could go into the blue bin and get recycled. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case.

Apparently plastic is recyclable. This much makes sense. However, many of the “recyclable” products we put into our recycling bins do not get recycled. Tonnes of plastic ends up in landfills every day. Plastic products get sorted out at recyling plants and thrown out. I couldn’t believe this.

The problem: Recycling facilities are not equipped to recycle all plastics. The shape of the product, the type of plastic, and the technology of the plant all contribute to what can and cannot be recycled in each municipality.

The frustrating thing is that there is no uniformity here. Most consumers, myself included, have no idea what can and cannot be recycled.

The familiar triangle logo with the three arrows doesn’t really help. There is absolutely no regulations behind the use of this symbol. It can be used by anyone and doesn’t guarantee that the product is recyclable.

Apparently most plastic food containers that are not bottle shaped, don’t get recycled.

I don’t know why this symbol isn’t regulated. We need to know what is getting recycled. This would help everyone involved. It must cost a lot of money to sort out the “good” plastic from the “bad plastic” at the recycling plants. If we knew what products got recycled then we could better choose what products to buy and which ones to put in our bins.

I hope this documentary gets people thinking about this problem. We need a better solution. That much is as clear as the transparent plastic all around me.