The Recycling Myth

The Recycling Myth

Remember the 3 R’s? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple anymore. Globally, only 9% of plastics are recycled, and China, our biggest importers of scrap plastic, is cutting its imports by 96%.
With our biggest importer of recycling closing its doors to Canada, we no longer have the infrastructure or funding to properly collect and recycle plastics.
For decades, Canadians have tossed their recycling into the ‘blue bin’, feeling good about recycling and going on with their day. In reality, [very few plastics are actually recycled](cbc article about recycling in Canada).

Canadians should not have to worry about recycling in the first place. At Drop the Plastic, we believe it is the responsibility of manufacturers to produce, distribute, and discard safe materials that can actually be recycled. As we continue to mass produce plastics without any proper
recycling systems in place, the burden has fallen on the consumer and our surrounding environments. We believe this is wrong.

Remember the 3 R’s? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple anymore. Globally, only 9% of plastics are recycled, and China, our biggest importers of scrap plastic, is cutting its imports by 96%.
With our biggest importer of recycling closing its doors to Canada, we no longer have the infrastructure or funding to properly collect and recycle plastics.
For decades, Canadians have tossed their recycling into the ‘blue bin’, feeling good about recycling and going on with their day. In reality, [very few plastics are actually recycled](cbc article about recycling in Canada).

Canadians should not have to worry about recycling in the first place. At Drop the Plastic, we believe it is the responsibility of manufacturers to produce, distribute, and discard safe materials that can actually be recycled. As we continue to mass produce plastics without any proper
recycling systems in place, the burden has fallen on the consumer and our surrounding environments. We believe this is wrong.

Our answer

Refuse, reduce, reuse, refurbish, recycle, redirect responsibility to production companies such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Nestle.

Recycling is not the answer

“Out of sight, out of mind” is not the best approach when it comes to recycling. Just because the recycling gets collected in your blue box every week, it doesn’t mean the job stops there. In fact, that is just the beginning of the journey your recycling is about to take.

Depending on the collection methods your local municipalities practice, most recycling materials have to go through a sorting, cleaning, baling process before the plastic pallets can be sold for remanufacturing. Each of these steps not only requires a significant amount of energy, but also creates by-products that need to be landfilled or incinerated.

Landfill or incineration often marks the “grave” of the plastic life cycle. However, the consequences and environmental impacts do not end at the landfill. Impacts such as toxin accumulation in soils, leaching into our waterways, and releasing greenhouse gases to the air are among the most common issues.

Bioplastics are not a viable alternative

With limited information presented to the general public, most people believe they are making an environmentally conscious decision when purchasing bioplastics. These bioplastic materials largely fail to decompose under natural conditions, release toxins during decomposition, and contaminate the traditional plastic recycling process if not separated properly.

Bioplastic alternatives are simply a superficial bandage to the much deeper issue of overconsumption of plastics. The key solution is to rethink consumer choices and avoid waste produced from its source.

Shop strategically and lead by example in front of your friends and family. Do not underestimate the power of showing people how easy it is to keep a plastic container from being used!

Behavioral change takes time

A small change can have a big impact:

  • Drop the plastic! If you don’t need to use a lid or a straw, don’t take them!

  • Use your own utensils

  • Keep a travel mug and a reusable container in your vehicle

  • Cut the ziplock and cling wrap! Upcycle reusable containers

  • Minimize use of individually packaged food. Buy in bulk!

Behavioral change takes time

A small change can have a big impact:

  • Drop the plastic! If you don’t need to use a lid or a straw, don’t take them!

  • Use your own utensils

  • Keep a travel mug and a reusable container in your vehicle

  • Cut the ziplock and cling wrap! Upcycle reusable containers

  • Minimize use of individually packaged food. Buy in bulk!