Stop Being so Proud of Your Recycling Efforts…The Joke’s on You!

recyclingIt’s no wonder people glaze over when I  talk to them about the importance of healthy water and  how plastic bottles are polluting the planet.  One blue recycling container and a little bit of elbow grease and most American’s actually believe that they’re doing their part to save the planet!  How does it feel to be suckered into all of that work only to have your separated plastics end up in the local landfill?

We are recycling, right?  WRONG!

For the most part (with few exceptions) U.S. companies believe that there isn’t enough money in recycling plastics so the plastics that we separate out from our garbage used to be shipped to China where it could be processed more affordably than here in the U.S.  It should come as no surprise that there are HUGE drawbacks with this plan that the “experts” didn’t consider.

First of all, transporting plastics across the ocean consumes massive amounts of fuel which no longer makes financial sense to China.  It never made sense to me!  It takes 1 cup of oil just to produce a plastic bottle and then we ship it  all the way around the world to begin the process all over again?  No wonder we have an energy crisis!

Second, the small companies that do the majority of China’s plastic recycling have “no facilities to treat waste water before it flows into local rivers”.  So in addition to an already horrific  air pollution problem, China is  now destroying their water sources with toxic plastic runoff.  I guess the good news is that this costly (and  ridiculous) plan of ours did keep a some of the discarded plastics out of our landfills…at least temporarily.  

 So…it’s official.  As of 2013, plastics numbered 3-7  are absolutely, positively going to a landfill and mixed in with all of the other junk we throw away.  China has stopped importing plastic trash under its new Green Fence Policy and Americans  are getting the blame.  Apparently 20% of the items we tossed into our plastic recycling bins were either not thoroughly washed (ha!) or were not recyclable so Chinese processors had to bury or burn the unusable plastics, polluting their air and growing their landfills. Go figure.  There isn’t a good answer for millions and millions of disposable bottles each year…not in the U.S…not in China…not in the ocean…not anywhere.  It must stop.

Even in our brightest hours of recycling – when China was being cooperative by taking  all of our trash plastics and recycling it so that it could be sold back to us – STILL less than 10% of our plastic junk EVER made it to recycling.  Some say that we’re actually only recycling 1-2% of all of the plastics discarded.  Do you wonder how the numbers could be so low?  Because the exporting of plastics to China always comes down to negotiated pricing.  If the price isn’t attractive enough then the plastic gets buried in our local landfills.   How pathetic is that?   So much for all of your blue container efforts!

It’s time to take real action.  Action beyond that which makes you feel good when you toss your plastic bottles into a blue container…action that will truly make a difference.  Toss the plastic for good.  Clean up your water source and start refilling your own reusable bottle with healthy water.  After all, this is the action recommended to all Americans  in Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk…What We Can Do Now  – a research study conducted by NIH for the President’s Cancer Panel) and I think it’s time to take heed.

If you don’t care enough about your own health to toss the harmful plastics then do it for the sake of the planet.  The next generation and the environment will thank you for it and you’ll be saving tens of thousands of dollars in the long run!

CHANGING THE WAY THE WORLD LOOKS AT WATER…

ONE DROP AT A TIME!

CLICK HERE to toss the plastic and begin a healthy water regime!

 

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