The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By George Citroner
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the World Health Organization currently recommend either 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (walking, gardening, doing household chores) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming) every week.
But there's little research looking at the benefits, if any, of exercising less than the 75 minute minimum.
It seems the reality of the climate crisis is too much for the Federal Reserve to ignore anymore.
For 21 years, Doug Distaso served his country in the United States Air Force.
He commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.
But after an Air Force plane accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, Distaso was placed on more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
The scourge of plastic waste that washes up on once-pristine beaches and finds its way into the middle of the ocean often starts on land, is dumped in rivers and canals, and gets carried out to sea. At the current rate, marine plastic is predicted to outweigh all the fish in the seas by 2050, according to Silicon Canals.
By Julia Conley
Joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Friday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders held the largest rally of any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to date in Iowa, drawing more than 2,400 people to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.