IS RECYCLING PLASTIC A GOOD IDEA?
Our world is polluted with plastic and if we continue on this path, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050, and 4 out of 5 men will be infertile by 2040, according to experts.
Petroleum-based plastics are a toxic poison containing endocrine disrupting chemicals that are killing people pre-maturely and making them sick, while also disrupting ecosystems in our oceans, rivers, etc.
9.1 Billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s and the amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity.
We each consume 1 credit card worth of microplastics every week.
So, what can we do to deal with the existing plastic that is going to persist in harming humanity and ecosystems around the world for hundreds of years, and also replace petroleum-based toxic plastics with benign plastic alternatives that are cost effective and healthier for people and planet?
Perhaps you are thinking that recycling is the solution or at least part of it? You may have even heard the term “circular economy” be erroneously applied to recycling plastics”
Recycling for one is only a temporary "kicking the can down the road" solution as plastics cannot be recycled for more than a few cycles before they are no longer viable as a material and become waste that goes in our oceans, landfills, rivers, etc. Secondly, in order to in the recycling process re-plasticize the recycled material, the used plastic has to be re-toxified with harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA, triclosan, etc. - the end product not only being harmful to the consumers who interact with the product but also at end of life to marine life and all other ecosystems that come into contact with the re-toxified product. Recycling of petroleum-based plastics is NOT sustainable on any level - it does not prevent the waste issue as plastics eventually become waste past a few cycles of recycling, and it perpetuates and increases the presence of highly toxic chemicals that harm human and ecosystem health. This is the antithesis of Circular Economy.
The chemicals in plastics have been shown to cause Infertility, Cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Asthma, and many other serious health conditions. Why endocrine disrupting chemicals in petroleum-based plastics are a key threat to human existence - babies are born pre-polluted with over 100 chemicals in their bodies. By 2060 studies show that at the current and projected rate of toxicity, the human race will be unable to reproduce. Fertility clinics are already seeing more couples under 30 than over 40. Recycling is not a solution if we care about human and ecosystem health. Also, if we care about equity, communities of color are disproportionately affected by these issues. From every possible aspect of implementing sustainability practices, recycling petroleum-based plastics is UNSUSTAINABLE.