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Only a Third of UK's Plastic Food Packaging Is Recyclable
Local governments in England and Wales have said that only about a third of the plastic food containers recycled by their constituents are actually able to be processed in recycling facilities, BBC News reported Saturday.
The Local Government Association (LGA) found that 525,000 metric tons (approximately 578,713 U.S. tons) of plastic pots, trays and tubs are used by English and Welsh households, but only 169,000 metric tons (approximately 186,291 U.S. tons) can actually be recycled. The rest end up in landfills.
The rejected plastics are usually low-grade mashups of polymers or black plastics that cannot be scanned by recycling machines because of their color.
"It's time for manufacturers to stop letting a smorgasboard of unrecyclable and damaging plastic flow into our environment. We've been calling for producers of unrecyclable material to develop a plan to stop this from entering the environment for years," LGA environment spokesperson Judith Blake told The Guardian.
The LGA proposed five fixes that would reduce the number of unrecyclable plastic food containers, according to The Guardian.
1. Make yogurt containers with the same material as plastic water bottles, instead of a hard-to-recycle mix of polypropylene and polystyrene.
2. Also make margarine and ice cream tubs from the same plastic as water bottles, instead of polypropylene.
3. Make fruit and vegetable baskets from fewer, more easily recyclable materials instead of a mix of polymers.
4. Make bakery trays from more easily recyclable materials, instead of a mix of polymers.
5. Change the color of black plastic packaging for microwave goods so that it can be scanned and recycled more easily.
The use of black plastic is especially ridiculous because it is only used for aesthetic reasons, LGA councillor Peter Fleming told BBC News.
"It's almost criminal to think that some of the plastics being used are difficult to recycle, and black plastic is almost impossible to recycle," Fleming said.
Blake also suggested that the government consider banning single-use, low grade plastics.
The UK grocery industry is in the process of trying to make a change. More than 40 companies signed the "UK Plastics Pact" in April, promising, among other things, to make sure all packaging was reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
The plastics industry says that a much as 80 percent of existing packaging could be made more recyclable, BBC News reported.
Globally, a 2017 study found that only 9 percent of all plastic waste has been recycled, with 79 percent ending up in landfills or the environment, National Geographic reported.
The same study found that 8.3 billion metric tons (approximately 9.2 billion U.S. tons) of plastic have been generated in just six decades."This kind of increase would 'break' any system that was not prepared for it, and this is why we have seen leakage from global waste systems into the oceans," University of Georgia environmental engineer Jenna Jambeck told National Geographic.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.