Tuesday, January 8, 2008

One word. Plastics

Okay, I knew plastics were sort of evil, right, or at least I understood this in theory. But I always assumed, hey, it's recyclable. And nothing recyclable can be that bad, right?

Well it turns out plastics aren't SORT of evil. They're really evil. Here's what Elizabeth Royte has to say about plastics in Garbage Land:
Plastic isn't truly recyclable in the way that glass, metals, and fibers are. Streams of mixed plastic can be turned into only one other product (plastic wood, garden pavers, or toothbrush handles, for example). When their useful life is over, these products cannot be "recycled" again. They have to be burned or buried. Either way, they add toxins to the environment. Unmixed streams are another matter: they actually can be refashioned into bottles and containers. But there isn't much demand from their makers for recycled plastic. Virgin is so much cheaper.

So basically, every time you throw a plastic bottle into the recycling bin, you are merely delaying the plastic's trip to the landfill. Yes, recycling is better than not, but we really should just reduce our plastic waste. While I'm not ready to go plastic free, I'm going to make more of an attempt to buy things in glass bottles, and to reuse the plastic containers I buy.

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