Some Thoughts on Plastic Waste & Current Recycling Technology


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Plastic Waste & the Current State of Recycling Technology

I attended the North American Flexible Film and Bag Conference April 10-12, 2018, which was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Plastic Industry has been receiving some bad press regarding plastic waste. Photos of floating islands of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean have become a huge concern.

There is a move afoot to ban single use plastic items such as:

  • Knives forks and spoons

  • Swizzle sticks

  • Straws

  • Plastic cups and lids

  • Grocery bags

Anything that is plastic and is used once and disposed of. The problem is that there is an overreaction to the issue. As an example, I was told that a church has a lent calendar that provides their parishioners give up one plastic item each day for the 40 days of lent.

Some 30 years ago I addressed a group who were concerned about plastics and the environment at which time I explained that we had a bronze age, an iron age and now we have a plastic age. The simple solution is to reduce, recycle, reuse. On the recycle side of the issue in 2015 the USA recycled 1.4 billion lbs. of plastic, the goal for 2020 is 2 billion lbs.

Companies such as SC Johnson are investigating ways to use plastic waste to make garbage bags, plastic pallets, as well plastic wood. The recycling industry should be supported by the government, in an effort to develop new recycling plastic technology. Remember the worst plastic polluters and located in the far east where there is no recycling as well no municipal waste facilities.

Learn more about Roy Ferguson by visiting his contributor page.

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