Why are our plastic 
recycling systems broken?

More than 40 years after the launch of the

well-known recycling symbol, only 5%

of plastic packaging will get a second life.

THERE IS NO DEMAND FOR
RECYCLED PLASTIC

Recycled plastic have an inferior quality than virgin plastic.

For recycled plastic to be of high-quality, it is a costly process, which raises the price of recycled plastic above the cost of virgin plastic.

Why would anyone buy an inferior quality product

at a more expensive cost when they can get higher quality, for cheaper?

BUT...I put all my recyclables in the recycling bin, my city has it picked up and taken to the recycling center. 

Are you saying it doesn't get reused?

Robot

WHAT

!!!

Correct.

For plastic packaging and other types of plastics, today's reality is that we treat the material to make it suitable for reuse, but

it doesn't get reused.

plastic recycling
THINK ABOUT YOUR 
RECYCLING HABITS

Do  you unscrew the cap off your water bottle? 

Do  you remove the label off the ketchup bottle? What if the glue from that label doesn't dissolve in water? If it doesn't, it can contaminate the plastic recycling stream. 

Let's also not forget: recyclable plastic packaging all have various versions of  synthetic polymers, stabilizers, fillers, plasticizers, colorants and more.

We take recycling for granted, but the reality is that the process is very complex.

Are our plastic recyclables perfectly cleaned, sorted and their chemical components separated? No. 

The end product results in a low quality plastic that most manufacturers do not want to buy. 

Under the Sea
OH AND, WHAT ABOUT THE ONES THAT ESCAPE?

When our trash never makes it to the landfill and/or our recyclables to the recycling center, we call it "leakage".

 

United States and Europe are 

considered to have advanced collection systems. However, 5% of plastics still escape and plastic packaging is particularly prone to leakage.

A frisbee, for example, falls into the "plastics" category, but a milk plastic container is considered "plastic packaging".

Even if plastic packaging leakage would be reduced globally from 32% to 1%, about 1 million ton would still escape the collection systems and accumulate in nature, every year.

 

As of now, it is estimated that 170,000 tons of various plastic types end up in our oceans yearly. 

Blue Snorkel
Starfish

HOW DO WE FIX OUR

PLASTIC RECYCLING SYSTEMS?

Wrench
A global plastic protocol would need to be applied and followed to ensure that the end product is as pure as possible.
By making recycled plastic a valuable product, 
demand would increase and the future of the
plastic recycling industry, secured.
Screwdriver

Let's

do

it!

 

What

is

the

protocol? 

Abstract Pattern 12

1.  fewer types of plastics 

2. plastics of high durable quality

3. identical chemical additives

4. markings for quick sorting

5. and do intensive cleaning + granular post-sorting

Abstract Pattern 12

WE NEED TO PRODUCE:

The first step consists of establishing universal

design standards for plastic packaging.

Abstract Pattern 12

Following these standards, we could then have:


 easy access to a list of the recycled resin composition


brand owners and manufacturers committed to purchasing recycled resin pellets


measures taken by policymakers to reduce landfilling and incineration

# 1

# 2

# 3

Sounds like we need to completely reinvent the

plastic recycling system

Is this achievable? What are the odds of this really happening?

Sadly, the odds are close to zero
Even if we started to meet some of our plastic recycling goals and increased global recycling rates from today’s 14% to more than 55% — which would be higher than the rate achieved by even the best-performing countries — annual requirements for
raw materials would still
double by 2050.
human plastic

Maybe it is

time to rethink our relationship with plastic