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90% of Plastic Isn't Recycled

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There's also a similar piece that just ran on 60 Minutes:

"A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn't Recycled" by Laura Parker on nationalgeographic.com

So, when I open a bottle of Deer Park water, there's a 90% chance that it will end up in the ocean, or in a landfill, despite my going to great lengths to recycle it?

Predictions are that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than FISH.

NO THANK YOU. I've got to change my ways.

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I've turned down bottled water in favor of tap water in a paper cup at fast food restaurants (even though the bottled water came with the meal).  I also try not to use straws.

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30 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I've turned down bottled water in favor of tap water in a paper cup at fast food restaurants (even though the bottled water came with the meal).  I also try not to use straws.

I suspect a lot of people who've seen "the tortoise video" on YouTube have minimized their use of straws (if you don't know what I'm talking about, caveat emptor).

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Yeah, my husband has been making fun of me for recycling for years, as it is wayyyyyy less effective for re-using materials than we have been led to believe (and I work in the waste management industry! So I do know this!). The difference is that I think we should do something to help mitigate the problem, instead of throwing up our hands and carrying on in hopelessness. So we have a lot of reusable items to try and do our part in little ways. Cloth grocery bags before they were cool, reusable water bottles and straws, non-plastic food containers, buying in less-packaged bulk when possible, re-using takeout containers as many times as possible, etc. Just trying to reduce the use of packaging where possible.  One area I wrestle with are the plastic fibers in most clothing, which are being sent out to sea as nanoparticles with each wash (these particles are too small to be removed by most wastewater treatment). I adore certain qualities of lycra-ed and jersey-ed materials for clothes, and find many natural fibers itchy and pricey.  But it is something I think about and am trying to switch our family to more cotton and linen.  

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I watched the 60 Minutes piece as well on Sunday, and the amount of plastic waste generated is disheartening.  I wish there could be a big push for completely standardized, re-usable metal  screw-top containers that could be returned anywhere for a deposit, like the old nickel-a-bottle glass soda bottles were.   Something like this: https://elephantbox.co.uk/products/small-screw-top-canister

Of course, there would have to be some sort of incentive for the plastic manufacturers to move into the metal container production, to help keep jobs and speed the cross-over,  a hard deadline to use up the final plastic inventory,  and carrot-and-stick incentives and penalties for businesses to switch to using the containers for takeout, fast casual, etc.

In the meantime, I'll keep using my reusable grocery sacks, washable mesh & string bags for bagging up my produce, etc.  

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I thought I was a conscientious  recycler until in Keflavik airport I saw a line of 20+ people outside the restrooms lining up to freely refill their water bottles from a special bottle fountain.
I had just paid $3+ for a bottle upstairs. 
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50 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

Not to rain on the parade, but....Huge device built to trap plastic in Pacific Ocean isn’t working.  This was featured on the 60 Minutes piece Sunday.

Right, but we have to start somewhere - trial-and-error seems to be a necessary, and should-be-acceptable, evil. The subsequent question is, even if it works, what do we do with this waste? It's like a low-level dump of nuclear cast-aside, except orders of magnitude higher in volume. 

Technology may have made our lives better over the past 150 years, but it's also destroying humanity, and nobody seems willing to give up convenience in order to have their great-great-great grandchildren alive and on this earth. As a species, we're selfish as hell, and probably deserve whatever grisly fate is coming our way; I just *hate* the fact that my son Matt is such an amazing clarinet player, but his entire life's work is going to be for nothing, because even his recordings - unless they're shot out into space for some future alien race to discover - will be destroyed and forgotten.

Well, personally, I'm all-in, but the trick is: Everybody is going to need to approve of whatever solution Science comes up with, or nobody is going to do anything. This is a BIG problem.

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20 minutes ago, Ferris Bueller said:

How about this?  We need to constantly upgrade infrastructure in the US, and could repave roads with recycled plastics as a component ....Road makers turn to recycled plastic for tougher surfacesThe Economist

Additionally, the recycling of asphalt which is commonplace now - only helps limit waste, increasing reuse.

I wrote this 3.5-years ago, somewhat naively:

"Making Roads from Recycled Material - Is It Possible, and if So, Why Aren't We?" by Meeee, on Here.

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Many local authorities in the US, in an attempt to encourage recycling installed single stream systems where it is no longer necessary to separate metal, glass, plastic. paper etc. Just dump it all in one container, and we'll take care of the rest. Now they are finding out that doesn't always work so well. Plastic bags, grocery store type in particular, are clogging up the works so frequently that some authorities have stopped accepting them and are recommending them for refuse. I see tax rises in the future for them.

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