Is Recycled Plastic Sustainable?

In the world of plastic sustainability, recycled plastic is a highly contested topic. While some view recycled plastic as the most sustainable option on the market, others view it as a form of greenwashing used by corporations to make them appear as though they are more eco-friendly than they are. Recycled plastic is a great initiative that would likely be sustainable in a perfect world, but it is too susceptible to human error to be consistently sustainable. When asked “Is recycled plastic sustainable?”, our answer would have to be no. At least, it is not sustainable by itself. That is why the team at Change Plastic for Good is committed to making plastic biodegradable through the addition of BDP® instead of relying on recycling alone to solve an ever-growing challenge.

Learn how BDP® can make plastic a truly sustainable commodity.

4 Reasons Why Recycled Plastic is Not Sustainable

Recycled plastic is not sustainable due to the following problems:

1. Less than 10% of Plastic is Recycled

The most glaring problem with recycled plastic is that too much of it ends up in landfills instead of recycling facilities. It is estimated that less than 10% of all plastic is properly recycled by consumers. To put this in perspective, this means that approximately 90 of every 100 plastic cups and other plastic products end up in garbage bins and landfills due to human error or confusion regarding what is/is not recyclable.

2. Recycling Bins are Easily Contaminated

Did you know that certain items can contaminate an entire bin of recycling? This often occurs due to “wishcycling”, a process where a consumer throws something into the recycling bin with the hopes that it can be recycled despite not knowing if it can be. When throwing an unrecyclable item into the bin, this can make every other item unusable and require the contents to be dumped in a landfill, creating additional plastic waste.

3. Recycling is Expensive

It costs millions of dollars to build and operate a single recycling facility. These facilities often rely on the sale of plastic bales to stay open, so they can be vulnerable to closures depending on market trends. Costs can further increase when you consider the labour and equipment required to process recycled plastics into new products. Due to these increased costs, many companies opt to create brand-new plastic products instead, further increasing plastic production and waste.

4. Different Laws for Different Areas

Every region has different laws regarding plastic recycling. For example, certain beverage containers may be recyclable in one part of Canada but not another. This makes it extremely difficult for consumers to get the correct facts, leading to additional wishcycling and plastic waste.

To learn more about plastic sustainability or to inquire about BDP® and the science behind it, get in touch with the experts at Change Plastic for Good. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding plastic sustainability.