Everyone has been trying to do their share to save the environment. Some have turned to limiting single-use plastics in their everyday activities while others have given up the use of plastics altogether and turned their attention to more sustainable alternatives.
However, the plastic industry is also trying its best to remain relevant. The promotion of recycling programs does not exactly point to people giving up the use of plastics. In fact, the main players in the plastic industry sponsored an event they called A Bag’s Life. It is a program that aims to provide alternatives to the plastic restrictions that everyone is trying to practice. The goal is to encourage kids to clean up their plastic waste properly as a form of response to the call to address the plastic crisis and ban all forms of plastic use, particularly single-use plastics.
A Bag’s Life is just one of the many programs led by the industry players to suppress efforts in banning the use of plastics altogether. While their goal is to reduce the number of people who do not use plastics at all, they used the industry of recycling to keep the use of plastics alive. In 2019, the United States worked on recycling part of the plastic waste their citizens produce. They successfully recycle 9% of the total amount of plastic waste produced each year.
A vast amount of plastics used end up in landfills or find their way to the ocean waters or the high mountains. Sadly, less than 1% of the total plastic bags used each year are actually recycled. This is not to say that the efforts to reduce plastic waste is not appreciated, but it is important to note that proper disposal of these waste should be carefully considered. Bottles, toys, takeout containers, and straws — these are some of the things that people need in their life and they’re not ready to give up.
People are encouraged to give these up, but they don;t really have to. At least, that is what the plastic industry has to say. They believe that with proper recycling methods put into place, it would be much easier for people to live convenient lives with plastic use, while still taking care of the environment. There is just too much plastic at the moment and what people need is to learn how to recycle them. Getting rid of the use of plastics may be a viable option, but it is not something that promises to be easy.
The plastics problem has been exponentially growing and plastic companies are aware of the growing problem for decades. And yet, in the 1980s, the production of plastics has doubled and it has been growing since then. Thirty years together and the problem persists. What is even worse is that most of the recyclable plastics from the US that were sent to China for recycling have been buried if not burned, so the problem on plastics didn’t really go away.
Instead of being refashioned into new products, they ended up in the landfill or as dangerous gases in the atmosphere due to burning. Plastic companies are fighting to keep their functionality in society. Unless they work on a good and workable recycling program, they will have to take on the challenge of remaining relevant and useful.