‘Only a small part of America’s recyclable plastic actually gets recycled’

A new Greenpeace report claims many facilities are not able to process recyclable plastic items, causing them to be wasted

The Big Zero report

Many of the plastic containers labelled as recyclable in the US may not be recyclable, according to a new report from Greenpeace.

The report claims many facilities cannot process several types of commonly used recyclable plastic packaging causing it to end up in landfill, be incinerated or to be exported without verification of recycling.

The research also found that out of 367 recycling facilities surveyed, none could process coffee pods, fewer than 15% accepted plastic clamshells and only a “tiny percentage” took plates, cups, bags and trays.

The report, which analysed plastic waste processing data from the facilities, claims that only PET #1 products like water bottles, soft drink bottles and peanut butter jars, as well as HDPE #2 plastic bottles like milk jugs, shampoo bottles and laundry detergent containers are being recycled with regularity.

It alleges other plastic products like vinyl, toys, lenses, laundry baskets, yogurt containers, solo cups, CDs and DVDs are often sent to landfills or incinerated despite being collected by municipal recycling programmes.

Greenpeace also claims that numerous products labelled as recyclable actually have virtually no market as new products.

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