Consumers have unknowingly put the plastics recycling industry in the United States on a starvation diet by failing to recycle sufficient quantities of soft drink bottles and other waste. That's the conclusion of a story in the Oct. 15 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.
In the article, C&EN senior editor Alexander H. Tullo explores the critical role of consumers in efforts to save energy and raw materials by transforming plastic wastes into new products. Tullo notes that barely 25 percent of the billions of pounds of plastic bottles and containers manufactured annually in the United States enter the recycling stream.
While major cities like New York and San Francisco have shown that plastics recycling can be done successfully on a large scale, fueled by recycling educational programs and environmental pride, many municipalities are still falling far short of their desired recycling goals.
Financial concerns, technological difficulties, and stiff competition for raw materials by recyclers at home and abroad are among the combined challenges facing the plastics recycling industry, Tullo notes.
But the fate of the plastics recycling industry may ultimately rest in the hands of consumers, he writes. Tullo's bottom line is a quote from one recycling expert: "There is not enough scrap material being collected."
Article: "From Refuse to Reuse"
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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