Watch: animation shows how much "recycled" plastic Britain dumps abroad

Originally published at: Watch: animation shows how much "recycled" plastic Britain dumps abroad | Boing Boing


the bbc did a programme on two girls who got disheartened by mcdonalds free toy with every meal

I grew up in Michigan and I thought it was completely ridiculous that Michigan is paid by Canada to take their trash to local landfills. Surely, this wouldn’t be going on today, accepting trash to bury it…
Yeah, still going on.

WTF. All that waste could be turned into syn gas (methane and carbon monoxide), filtered, and burned cleanly for power generation. There’s enough payoff to do it. Seems an exploited niche.

There is no way to burn anything derived from a fossil fuel without putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Once that oil is pumped out of the ground it’s going to have some kind of negative environmental impact. The only question is what kind of pollution we want to create and where we want to put it.


Then there’s the challenge of educating people about what can and can’t be recycled, even as the number of items they touch on a daily basis grows. Americans tend to be “aspirational” about their recycling, tossing an item in the blue bin because it makes them feel less guilty about consuming it and throwing it away. Even in San Francisco, Reed kept pointing out items that aren’t easily recyclable but that keep showing up at the Recology plant: soy-sauce packets and pizza boxes, candy-bar wrappers and dry-cleaner bags, the lids of to-go coffee cups and plastic take-out containers.

This is a real problem – a lot of the stuff that has the :recycle: logo on the bottom isn’t actually recyclable and if you dump it in the recycling bin you’re just creating work for someone to sort it and have it end up in a landfill anyway. You need to do the right research on the different logos to know what you can/can’t recycle and it often differs between different municipalities or different trash collection companies. It’s easier to just dump everything plastic in recycling or throw it in the trash rather than risk getting it wrong. Even things you think would be recyclable like lumber and such actually probably isn’t. Even stuff that seems like it should be a slam dunk isn’t. For instance, a lot of Amazon’s paper packaging isn’t recyclable because it’s infused with non-recyclable plastic bubble wrap.

It’s a giant fucking mess.

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What is crazy to me as a designer interested in circular economy is that what is deemed “trash” is mostly useful material. We don’t separate it well to recover this material and reuse it and plastic is bad technology. You can reuse aluminium ad infinitum, you can reuse glass, you can convert food waste into biofuel or compost them into fertilizer.

We are burying resources into landfills while extracting more from nature, that’s a dumb way to live. The whole system is broken, from industry to final consumer.

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