Even Greenpeace Admits That Recycling Doesn’t Work

Stacks of separated household waste await to be shipped and recycled at the Siredom integrated waste treatment centre, in the Paris suburb of Vert-Le-Grand on October 24, 2022. - The Siredom centre has the capacity to sort through 70,000 tons of collected recycled waste separating them in 12 categories from plastic and polystyrene to aluminium and glass  to be recycled and incinerate 241,000 tons of non-recyclable waste to produce 268 GWh of energy via its two turbines. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP) (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

At a glance

  • Even Greenpeace now admits the obvious: recycling doesn’t work.
  • The group has issued a report accompanied by a press release headlined, “Plastic Recycling Is A Dead-End Street—Year After Year, Plastic Recycling Declines Even as Plastic Waste Increases.”
  • The Greenpeace report offers a wealth of statistics and an admirably succinct diagnosis: “Mechanical and chemical recycling of plastic waste has largely failed and will always fail because plastic waste is: (1) extremely difficult to collect, (2) virtually impossible to sort for recycling, (3) environmentally harmful to reprocess, (4) often made of and contaminated by toxic materials, and (5) not economical to recycle.” Greenpeace could have added a sixth reason: forcing people to sort and rinse their plastic garbage is a waste of everyone’s time.

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