Next we have manufacturers of items, such as plastic containers, being made more efficiently by using less plastic. Today, plastic bottles are lighter and larger plastic jugs have thinner walls. These facts has thrown two strikes against recycling!
Strike One: Thinner walls means less plastic and less aluminum with bottles and cans. This translates into less profitable operations for recyclers who need more weight to make money.
Strike Three? An article in the New York Times by David Gelles presented that the market for recycled plastic is about to dry up. The reason and possible strike three is due to oil prices dropping to lows that I have not seen since I started driving. Virgin plastic produced from cheap fossil fuels means recycled plastic is only worth half of what it was last year. Townships are paying to cart away their recyclables to be incinerated or dumped in a landfill because it is cheaper!
I for one, would swing for the Green Fences by stopping the "cutting corners" to make more profit in the short term, thus losing more money in the long term. Also let's not delay the innovations in plastics that are waiting to come up and bat for America. New technologies are helping to transform old plastics back into new high quality plastics. I am tired of the proverbially saying, "That will take another ten years." We went to our moon and back in less than ten years, if we know about a new innovation, lower the profit margin goals and get the technology working!
Also let us go back to multi-layer sorting. American people are not allergic to work and spending a few extra minutes to sort our stuff before putting it to the curb. If anyone is, write them up with a fine after three warnings, because three strikes you are out does not just apply to America's past time called Baseball.
Bill Lauto , GTG
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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