Recycling Plastics and Glass

The concept of creating a low interest loan bank of investments for the hard to recycle plastics and glass is certainly an interesting concept. Kudos to Mr. Gonan and company for proposing and getting funding for the idea.

Of course, the article does leave a bit out of the equation. It states that there is a high demand for the material from certain corporations. That may be true, but the real issue is can all of this be done at a price point that is sustainable. Therein lies the problem.

As oil continues to decrease in price, so does the value of the very materials that the fund is trying to create a processing outlet for. Thus, the issue is; we can sort it, but can we sell it…and yes the article does mention this…but it is a really big question.

The other issue is one of transportation and value…

recycling-plastics-and-glassGlass has limited uses in the making of new bottles (people still think that this is the only thing that happens to glass for the most part…and groups like the Container Recycling Institute think that deposit laws somehow help recycling…they don’t). It is also expensive to transport. Thus, if there are no glass mills close by, there is no market for glass cullet as glass cullet….

The idea that glass has other post consumer uses is a good one and one that must take geography and political resistance into account.

So, this is a great start…and I hope that the fund will also look at supporting technology that finds new and value enhanced uses for these materials. That is, real up – cycling, not feel good up – cycling.

Of course, there is a simpler and less costly solution…avoid the manufacture of the hard to recycle plastics in the first place….or better yet, make it a policy that real extended producer responsibility be put in place.

Read the full article:
Big Companies Put Their Money Where the Trash Is
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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