Reality of Recycling Comes To Forefront As Environmental Concerns Peak
Nonprofit Greenpeace has released a new report acknowledging the gross inefficiencies and near futility of recycling, as reported by Grist. The report highlights that even while the use of plastics across the world surges, the amount of plastic that gets recycled has decreased, a symptom of a solution no match for the scale of a problem it hopes to address. Greenpeace states that “U.S. households generated an estimated 51 million tons of plastic waste in 2021, only 2.4 million tons of which was recycled.” Because of the complexities of sorting, the chemical hazards of the process, and the use of low-grade plastics, the U.S.’s recycling infrastructure is abysmally short of where it needs to be to reduce plastic waste. This report comes as the United Nations-sponsored COP27 climate summit commences in Egypt, where U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has warned the world is on a “highway to climate hell,” set against a backdrop of war and economic crises.
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