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Chemical recycling involves sorting plastic by type, grinding into powders, and mixing and melting into the same kind of polymers from which the powders were generated. sturti / Getty Images

By Brigitte Osterath

Yogurt pots, shampoo bottles, coffee-to-go lids, bubble wrap — plastic products are all composed of the same building blocks: long carbon chains.

Heating them to high temperatures makes the carbon chains crack into a mixture of shorter molecules, ultimately converting them back into crude oil, the resource from which the majority of plastic products were originally made.

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Only the paper part of a drink carton would be recycled everything else, including the plastic coating or layer or aluminum foil, would be incinerated as residual waste. tavan amonratanasareegul / Getty Images

By Jeannette Cwienk

When it comes to recycling and recyclability, very little, it seems is straightforward — even something as seemingly simple as orange juice can present a conundrum. In Germany, many smaller shops sell drinks in cartons or plastic bottles, both of which will end up in the yellow recycling bin. But how do their recycling credentials stack up?

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images

By Julie Wilson

It's great when consumers take responsibility for using less plastic, and for cleaning up plastic waste in their communities.

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These waxworm caterpillars have an appetite for plastic. USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Scientists are learning more about a caterpillar that is very hungry …. for plastics!

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Olives growing on a tree in Pula, Croatia. Sebastian Rothe / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

1.3 billion plastic bottles are sold daily around the world. And that's just the tip of the fossil-based plastic iceberg. Plastic preserves our food. It's in the nylon and polyester we wear, and it protects medical staff from the coronavirus.

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A plastic shopping bag lies on the ground at the Calabasas landfill on January 22, 2008. Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

The plastics industry is asking the federal government for a $1 billion bailout to help recycling during the pandemic.

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Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin (front 2nd L) and officials inspect a container containing plastic waste shipment on Jan. 20, 2020 before sending back to the countries of origin. AFP via Getty Images

The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.

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A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images

Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine.

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Aerial shot top view Garbage trucks unload garbage to a recycle in the vicinity of the city of Bangkok, Thailand. bugto / Moment / Getty Images

German researchers have identified a strain of bacterium that not only breaks down toxic plastic, but also uses it as food to fuel the process, according to The Guardian.

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Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More Show Less
A pile of garbage covered the five hundred meter Jambe river flow in Tambun, Bekasi, West Java on Sept. 5. Dasril Roszandi / NurPhoto / Getty Images

The Garbage Café in India is tackling the country's plastic crisis while also giving a hearty meal to the poor and the homeless.

Read More Show Less
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Chemical recycling involves sorting plastic by type, grinding into powders, and mixing and melting into the same kind of polymers from which the powders were generated. sturti / Getty Images

By Brigitte Osterath

Yogurt pots, shampoo bottles, coffee-to-go lids, bubble wrap — plastic products are all composed of the same building blocks: long carbon chains.

Heating them to high temperatures makes the carbon chains crack into a mixture of shorter molecules, ultimately converting them back into crude oil, the resource from which the majority of plastic products were originally made.

Read More Show Less
Only the paper part of a drink carton would be recycled everything else, including the plastic coating or layer or aluminum foil, would be incinerated as residual waste. tavan amonratanasareegul / Getty Images

By Jeannette Cwienk

When it comes to recycling and recyclability, very little, it seems is straightforward — even something as seemingly simple as orange juice can present a conundrum. In Germany, many smaller shops sell drinks in cartons or plastic bottles, both of which will end up in the yellow recycling bin. But how do their recycling credentials stack up?

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images

By Julie Wilson

It's great when consumers take responsibility for using less plastic, and for cleaning up plastic waste in their communities.

Read More Show Less
These waxworm caterpillars have an appetite for plastic. USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Scientists are learning more about a caterpillar that is very hungry …. for plastics!

Read More Show Less
Olives growing on a tree in Pula, Croatia. Sebastian Rothe / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

1.3 billion plastic bottles are sold daily around the world. And that's just the tip of the fossil-based plastic iceberg. Plastic preserves our food. It's in the nylon and polyester we wear, and it protects medical staff from the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
A plastic shopping bag lies on the ground at the Calabasas landfill on January 22, 2008. Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

The plastics industry is asking the federal government for a $1 billion bailout to help recycling during the pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin (front 2nd L) and officials inspect a container containing plastic waste shipment on Jan. 20, 2020 before sending back to the countries of origin. AFP via Getty Images

The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.

Read More Show Less

A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images

Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Aerial shot top view Garbage trucks unload garbage to a recycle in the vicinity of the city of Bangkok, Thailand. bugto / Moment / Getty Images

German researchers have identified a strain of bacterium that not only breaks down toxic plastic, but also uses it as food to fuel the process, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More Show Less
A pile of garbage covered the five hundred meter Jambe river flow in Tambun, Bekasi, West Java on Sept. 5. Dasril Roszandi / NurPhoto / Getty Images

The Garbage Café in India is tackling the country's plastic crisis while also giving a hearty meal to the poor and the homeless.

Read More Show Less
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

A man carries plastic shopping bags in Times Square on May 5, 2018 in New York City. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

Nearly one year after New York became the second state in the nation to pass a ban on grocery store plastic bags — the law is going into effect on Sunday.

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Margot Chirayath holds open the lid to a recycling container as Interns peer inside during a walk in South Portland Thursday, June 13, 2019. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Portland Press Herald / Getty Images
Preliminary tests of the bubble barrier have shown it to be capable of ushering 80 percent of the canal's plastic waste to its banks. The Great Bubble Barrier / YouTube screenshot
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) discusses the introduction of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020 in Washington, DC. Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media / Getty Images
Recycled paper at the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority's recycling site piles up in Edinburgh, Australia, on April 17, 2019. Brenton Edwards / AFP / Getty Images

By Alex Thornton

The Australian government has announced a A$190 million (US$130 million) investment in the nation's first Recycling Modernization Fund, with the aim of transforming the country's waste and recycling industry. The hope is that as many as 10,000 jobs can be created in what is being called a "once in a generation" opportunity to remodel the way Australia deals with its waste.

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Colgates new toothpaste is certified by The Vegan Society. Colgate-Palmolive Company

Colgate has launched a new line of toothpaste in a fully recyclable tube, a first for toothpaste, as The Guardian reported.

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