According to research, the United States saw about 40 million tons of plastic waste generated in 2021 alone. The U.S. produces more plastic waste than any other nation in the world, and that’s only half the problem. You see, in 2021, about 85% of plastic waste went into landfills, and only 5% of it was viable for recycling.
This is a problem because plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and in that time, it can leach harmful chemicals into the environment. It’s also a problem because we’re running out of places to put all this waste. If we don’t start recycling more plastic, we’re going to have a big problem on our hands.
Why Is the Recycling Rate So Low?
There are many reasons why the recycling rate is so low. Here are some of them:
Most Plastics Are Made With Different Layers
Plastics are made with different layers to give them strength, flexibility, and durability. However, this also makes them difficult to recycle because the different layers have to be separated before they can be recycled. Most recycling facilities don’t have the technology to separate the different layers, so they end up throwing away most of the plastic.
Recycling Is Expensive
It costs a lot of money to set up and maintain a recycling facility. It’s also very labor-intensive, which drives up the cost. The low demand for recycled plastic means that there isn’t enough revenue to offset the high costs, so many facilities have shut down.
When plastics are used for packaging food, they often get contaminated with food particles. This makes them difficult to recycle because the food particles can contaminate other materials that are being recycled. Most recycling facilities have a process to clean the plastics, but it’s often not very effective. As a result, many plastics end up in landfill because they can’t be recycled.
Lack of Recycling Infrastructure
In many parts of the country, there are no recycling facilities, or they’re very far away. This makes it difficult for people to recycle their plastics. As a result, many plastics end up in landfill because they can’t be recycled.
U.S. Plastic Waste Exports
The U.S. exports more plastic waste than any other country in the world, and this has been happening for years. In fact, between 1988 and 2016, the U.S. exported a total of 16 million metric tons of plastic waste.
Why does the U.S. export so much plastic waste? There are a few reasons. First, the U.S. has a lot of plastic waste to get rid of. Second, other countries are willing to accept our plastic waste and recycle it for us. Third, exporting plastic waste is cheaper than recycling it in the U.S.
What Can Be Done to Increase the Recycling Rate?
There are a number of things that can be done to increase the recycling rate. Here are some of them:
• Invest in better recycling technology: One way to increase the recycling rate is to invest in better recycling technology. This would allow recycling facilities to recycle more plastics and reduce the amount that ends up in landfills.
• Create incentives for recycling: Another way to increase the recycling rate is to create incentives for people to recycle their plastics. For example, you could offer a discount on your garbage bill if you recycle your plastics.
• Increase public awareness: One of the biggest obstacles to recycling is that many people don’t know how or where to recycle their plastics. Increasing public awareness about recycling can go a long way toward increasing the recycling rate.
The recycling rate for plastic is very low, but there are a number of things that can be done to increase it. Investing in better recycling technology, creating incentives for recycling, and increasing public awareness about recycling can all help to increase the recycling rate. At D&D Plastics, we specialize in plastic fabrication and design and use recyclable plastics whenever possible, so get in touch with us today.
Categorised in: Plastic Design Company
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