Plastic recycling is very limited

This is something that could radically change this country.

I am just noticing this and dropping this in a few places tonight. It is very obvious.

All of our folks in charge not one has proposed that bottling factories must use a percentage of recycled plastic. As of 2019 only 11% of plastic in this country is recycled.

The bottling guys need to step aside and pay up. Of course the consumer would pay more. The consumer can afford steak diners and complaining endlessly about welfare as well.

The thing is noticing not one law in the US says bottlers in all industries need to use the recycled stuff. Must change.

Well my bad. Google is my friend. CA is 4% ahead of the average with a law that 15% must be recycled. Of course 15% is like saying lets just do a tad of this.

Plastic Minimum Content Standards (AB 793) - CalRecycle Home Page.

Washington state is similar to CA. I guess doing absolutely nothing is not an option so doing close to nothing makes for a good law?


Note that recycled plastics for food packaging has challenges. But use in shampoo bottles etc should be easy.

Consumer should demand that companies report how much of a package is recycled.

PET from plastic pop bottles is easiest yo recyle but mos goes to polyester fiberfill. Reuse in pop bottles risks contamination with used motor oil or pesTicides etc.

Eastman Chemicals process to break PET down to its building blocks for reuse and cleaner recycling is a step in the right direction. So is UN commision to limit production to recyclable

And we still have too many who don’t recycle at all.

A universal bottle bill would be expensive but might help a lot!!!


We have a goal of self driving cars but we can not make a coneyer belt that separates out oil and plastic oil containers? That is not true.

It costs money. Lets grow up.

If your son came to you and said, “dad my mowing the lawn will take time away from working down town for more money and doing my school work for a better job so I wont mow your damned lawn…” Well this is a no brainer, you need to teach him a lesson as in get rightly p***ed. He will snap to as is needed.

We keep saying nothing gets done. The system is corrupt etc.

But here we are and the first answer is not corruption. The first answer, “it costs”. Pay up! Lets go. Paying three cents more for a Pepsi is not your biggest problem in life.


I agree. If you have equipment that can spot burnt or broken potato chips and remove them, doing same with recycling should be possible. And probably is well over 90% effective.

But potato chips is a controlled situation. You know all the input all the possible items in the stream and can plan ahead.

That is not the case in post consumer recycling. Anything and everything can be present. You can plan for the most likely items. Clean them to remove labels and food waste. But all the other possibles can be a nightmare.

We do not need to use 100% of what is on the conveyer belt. We can separate out 7 to 15% of the plastics that have other materials. First wash down the plastic to rid the loose stuff that would not matter much. Second look for elements to separate all the materials in a given lot that can not be used.

I think I have the word right for this spectrometry.

We can also irradiate the plastic.

Yes, once the plastic is sorted, chopping it up and washing it to remove labels, dirt, and food residues, etc is standard practice. Spectrometry is indeed a logical way to separate the various kinds of plastics. It also has to be sorted by color.

But foreign contamination is still a concern. Especially for food packaging.

and irradiating the plastic, doable?

Why can 15% be done as the law in CA says but not some 80% plus?

Cost? Well lets s&ck it up buttercup.

Sorting white/clear plastic is done via automated machinery because it is not hard to read the recycle symbol on it. That does not work for black plastic. Sorting black plastic by hand is a non-starter. Plus, other colors have their own sorting issues, so they can be made into black plastic by adding the appropriate dye(s)–but that is the end of the recycling for those plastics. Black plastic mostly ends up in the burner (for energy) because it is not really recycled.

“Black plastic is non-recyclable and actually poses massive difficulties to recycling centers, because it contaminates other plastics. Conventional plastic-sorting facilities utilize near infrared radiation, or a light beam that bounces off the plastics, to identify and sort them. Mar 19, 2021”

What if all this recycling of plastic uses more energy (more fossil fuels) than are being saved in the first place?

What if we burn the recycled plastics as fuel and capture the energy.

As to black plastics recycling, I think this is more of the “this is we the way we have always done it” mentality. You can name quite a few areas where black plastic is not a problem. Railroad ties. Land fill (like the Philadelphia highway repair). Black plastic bags. Cable ties.

Ditto plastic bags. Current recycle conveyors are not equipped to handle them. But engineers can deal with it.

Of course installing new technology at recycling centers across the country is costly. Someone has to pay.

“We don’t do that” is not an acceptable excuse.


The amount of plastic in use in a day would probably fulfill those needs for a year. Asphalt, that’s what would use a ton of the stuff, unfortunately we already have asphalt as a leftover from the oil refining process. But then there’s also “plastic wood” like Trex, which would use up a bunch of it if it was priced better than lumber. But we chop down whole forests for timber while we float our plastic refuse out into the ocean, so I don’t see much hope.

We are doomed, mostly.



There are zero reasons not to regulate all of it.

That is also the difference in time with demand side econ. Economies of scale mean the deflationary forces are centered here so we can afford to regulate and the costs wont be a full on force.

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I don’t think recycling is profitable anywhere. It requires massive subsidies to pay for collection sorting and shipping to users.

Yes, regulations can guide the process, but to the extent they raise costs its a step in the wrong direction.

The best regulation might be to ban the manufacture and use of plastics unless it can be shown that they can be recycled profitably. Short of that the effort is largely symbolic–virtually meaningless.


How is that true at all? I get we have been told that for the last four decades but in many instances it was never true.

To pay 3 cents extra for a diet coke is a problem? Really? What sort of problem? Is that going to crush the US economy? How so? In what way is this a problem?

For the life of me I can not see a single problem in people paying 3 cents extra for a bottle of soda. Or any other plastic bottled item.

adding the next day, the argument of keeping costs down was to keep American made productive. Same people then built their factories in China. smh, this was not the factor that mattered.


Yes, raising the cost of plastics by taxes or other limits might work. Raising cost of recycling with additional regulations looks like a loser to me.

I don’t see anything wrong with glass pop bottles. In fact, I prefer them. I like glass jars and tins with lids.

I suspect plastic is preferred to make shipping lighter.


Also no broken glass at the side of the roads or in and around pools, etc. Otherwise I’d prefer glass too.



Not mandating recycling is the only loser here.

It is called regulation. It costs money.

Again how does the country lose from regulation? If it is a “loser” how does it destroy our nation? The argument is nonsense.

Just because we hear some sort of bull for forty years does not make is so.

and around cats and dogs etc…domestic animals and wild animals. Wild animals get cut they wander off often getting infected and die.


“Not mandating recycling is the only loser.”

Enforcement is the problem. Are we sending coos down the street to check whats in your trash? And how do you fund enforcement?

Consumer cooperation and participation is required. That is clearly missing in some cases.

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SFH residential curbside seems reasonably doable. Most of my friends also seem proud that they are doing it.

Apartments with communal dumpsters, commercial dumpsters, the trash cans at stores, hospitals, convenience stores, etc seem to not be amenable to recycling.


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