Plastics recycling: six big questions answered
Our relationship with plastics is changing fast. Recycling is key to replacing the material’s old linear life cycle with a circular one, prolonging its lifetime – but there is still confusion over many aspects of the recycling process.
1) Why aren’t all types of plastic recycled?
At the moment, only about 30% of plastic is collected for recycling in Europe, and maybe only one-third of that is actually recycled.
2) Why do we need to make new plastics if recycled plastics can be reused?
Chemical recycling can turn plastic back into its original components
3) What are the advantages of chemical recycling? And what kind of impact can it have in terms of reducing our plastic footprint?
4) How are recycling facilities improving the way they deal with waste?
Artificial intelligence is starting to be exploited at recycling facilities
5) Why are we still using plastic food packaging if it isn’t recyclable?
When food ends up in landfill it rots and produces methane – a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide
6) Is recycling itself harmful to the environment?
If the entire life cycle of plastics is considered, emissions from recycling are marginal.