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  • Writer's pictureAMERICAN SHREDDING

Plastics Recycling Failing for Another Year in the USA - What can You and Your Company Do?

“When it comes to plastics, recycling has been an abysmal failure, and only 5% to 6% of plastics actually gets recycled in the United States,” says Enck. (Source: wbur).

In a list published this year, the USA ranks second in countries that produce the most plastic waste. In addition, at 34.02 million tons, the United States was the largest producer of plastic waste in the world in 2016. We burn about six times more plastic waste than it recycles, a process that often releases harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, increasing the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, the United States, as well as other countries like Canada and the U.K., is known for exporting collected plastic waste to countries in Asia, where it is then recycled or disposed of, often improperly. This can create a distorted impression of how much waste is actually being generated by both the sending and receiving countries. Source


Plastic Recycling is Often Confusing!

Ever tried to figure out what can or can not be recycled? Ever wonder which plastics should be grouped with plastics that can be recycled together? Whew! Often misleading arrow symbols lead consumers to overwhelm recycling plants with plastic items they can’t process, according to Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics, a non-profit that aims to reduce single-use plastic use and production. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency asked the Federal Trade Commission to modify the symbol for that reason.

“Plastics are nearly impossible to recycle because of the many different types that cannot be recycled together. Thousands of different chemical additives make plastics soft, fire resistant or give them other properties”, Enck says. “Go to your washing machine in your home or your apartment and you might see a bright orange hard plastic detergent bottle. Go to your refrigerator and you might see a squeezable clear ketchup bottle,” Enck says. “Those two types of plastics cannot be recycled together.“


What You Can Do

What can individuals and companies do to help do their part when it comes to plastic recycling? Below are a few suggestions.


Purchase Items Using Little or No Plastic Packaging

There are several companies who are taking global warming and overuse of plastic packaging to heart. The demand for paper packaging is increasing at a rate of 3.5 percent per year. (Source)


However, innovations in the paper packaging technology can help meet both the corners. Developing different types of paper packing material for industrial packaging can eliminate plastic to a great extent. The known brands like L’Oreal, Zappos, Mcdonald’s, Apple, and Amazon are successfully winning consumers’ sentiments by opting for paper over plastic packaging. (Source)


Be A Recycle Ambassador

If you are in your office and see ways to help your company reduce their plastic use, consider going to the owner and see what you can do to make more use of paper rather than plastic.


Upcycle Plastic Containers

Upcycling is taking plastic waste and turning it into something new and usable

  • Consider alternate uses for plastic. Many containers can be used as:

  • Organizers for office supplies, common areas such as kitchens, etc.

  • Planters for office plants

  • Take them home for your kids to use for arts and crafts


Go To Your State Recycling Website

Not sure how to recycle plastic correctly? Visit your state’s website. There you will see how and what to recycle and also they will often list recycling events that you and your company can get involved in.



Does your company produce products that use plastic packaging? Do you need them to be recycled due to expired dates, faulty contents, recalled products or more? American Shredding can do that for you!

🔒 Contact Us Today!

📞 888-777-2099

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