Reduce, REUSE and Recycle

At the retail level, we take the concept of Reduce, REUSE and Recycle to a whole new level.  We procure our line of products from our manufacturers in gallon jugs.  Our end-use customer brings in their own container (also available for purchase) and refills it with their choice of our personal care and cleaning product offerings.

7 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PLASTIC & PLASTIC RECYCLING

Misconception #1: Plastics that go into a curbside recycling bin get recycled.

Not necessarily. Collecting plastic containers at curbside fosters the belief that, like aluminum and glass, the recovered material is converted into new containers. In fact, none of the recovered plastic containers from Berkeley are being made into containers again but into new secondary products such as textiles, parking lot bumpers, or plastic lumber – all unrecyclable products. This does not reduce the use of virgin materials in plastic packaging. “Recycled” in this case merely means “collected,” not reprocessed or converted into useful products.

Misconception #2: Curbside collection will reduce the amount of plastic landfilled.

Not necessarily. If establishing collection makes plastic packages seem more environmentally friendly, people may feel comfortable buying more. Curbside plastic collection programs, intended to reduce municipal plastic waste, might backfire if total use rises faster than collection. Since only a fraction of certain types of plastic could realistically be captured by a curbside program, the net impact of initiating curbside collection could be an increase in the amount of plastic landfilled. The Berkeley pilot program showed no reduction of plastic being sent to the landfill in the areas where the curbside collection was in operation. Furthermore, since most plastic reprocessing leads to secondary products that are not themselves recycled, this material is only temporarily diverted from landfills.

Misconception # 3: A chasing arrows symbol means a plastic container is recyclable.

The arrows are meaningless! Every plastic container is marked with the chasing arrows symbol. The only information in the symbol is the number inside the arrows, which indicates the general class of resin used to make the container. The Attorney General of 11 states objected to false and misleading claims about plastic recyclability. The recent settlement that they reached with the American Plastics Council paves the way for a first-ever definition of what claims can or cannot be made about plastic recycling and recyclability.

Misconception # 4: Packaging resins are made from petroleum refineries’ waste.

Plastic resins are made from non-renewable natural resources that could be used for a variety of other applications or conserved. Most packaging plastics are made from the same natural gas used in homes to heat water and cook.

Misconception # 5: Plastics recyclers pay to promote plastics’ recyclability.

NO! Virgin resin producers pay for the bulk of these ads. Most such ads are placed by virgin plastic manufacturers whose goal is to promote plastic sales. These advertisements are aimed at removing or diminishing virgin plastic’s greatest challenge to market expansion: negative public conception of plastic as unrecyclable, environmentally harmful, and a major component of wastes that must be landfilled or burned.

Misconception # 6: Using plastic containers conserves energy.

When the equation includes the energy used to synthesize the plastic resin, making plastic containers uses as much energy as making glass containers from virgin materials, and much more than making glass containers from recycled materials.Using refillables is the most energy conservative.

Misconception # 7: Our choice is limited to recycling or wasting.

Source reduction is preferable for many types of plastic and isn’t difficult. Opportunities include using refillable containers, buying in bulk, buying things that don’t need much packaging, and buying things in recyclable and recycled packages.

Source:  Ecology Center 

 

PLASTIC RECYCLING FACTS

  • In 2007, the US generated almost 31 million tons of plastics in the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) stream.
  • Of this amount, containers and packaging represented 14 million tons.
  • In 1960, plastics was less than 1% of MSW.  In 2007, that figure is 12.1%.
  • Plastics are a rapidly growing segment of the MSW stream. The largest category of plastics are found in containers and packaging (e.g., soft drink bottles, lids, shampoo bottles).
  • Overall recovery of plastics for recycling is relatively small—2.1 million tons, or 6.8 percent of plastics generation in 2007.  The remainder will last hundreds of years decomposing in our landfills.

Source:  US Environmental Protection Agency

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

epa.gov

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