Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Forbes reported this week on retail giant Walmart’s efforts to work with consumers and suppliers on improving sustainable packaging to reduce the amount of “wish-cycling” — people tossing things into recycling bins on the hope that they can be recycled – and to improve packaging design with its end of life in mind. A Greenpeace report released this week reveals the extent of the recycling problems in the U.S. — they concluded that only some specific types of plastic bottles and jugs “can be legitimately labeled as recyclable in the U.S. today” and most common plastic pollution items, such as single-use plastic foodservice and convenience products, cannot be legitimately claimed as recyclable.”
Why This Matters: Consumers produced over 80 million tons of container and packaging waste in 2017, and only 50.1% was recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills or incinerated for energy. We have written about comprehensive legislation that would advance recycling in the U.S. — but it won’t be passed any time soon. There is a movement to adopt standardized recycling labels called “How2Recycle” that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. In the meantime, retailers like Walmart can and should lead the way by both educating their customers (Walmart holds educational events in its stores) and by improving packaging and labeling (Walmart is working to put a How2Recycle label on every Walmart branded product). Target and Unilever are joining Walmart’s efforts. And as Greenpeace points out, consumers must know which labels to trust because these claims and labels affect a consumer’s purchasing decision.
Currently No Demand In the U.S. For Most Recyclables
According to Greenpeace, “America’s post-consumer collection, sorting and reprocessing/ recycling systems are now stressed, and in some cases failing due to excessive waste generation, contamination, and severe declines in commodity values for collected cardboard, paper, metal, glass, and plastic materials.”
China, thanks to a policy called “National Sword,” no longer takes any of our waste.
Unfortunately, consumers are under the impression that they can still recycle many more items than is realistically possible. Greenpeace’s report concluded that current labels are outdated and “do not provide truthful advertising to American consumers and are a cause of contamination and inefficiency plaguing America’s municipal collection and plastics recycling/reprocessing systems.”
Spooky season is almost over, how does your everyday werewolf or vampire keep it green this Halloween? While the holiday can easily be filled with candy wrappers, disposable decorations, and costumes your kid will likely never wear again, the internet has some “tricks” to keep your celebrations environmentally friendly. EcoWatch’s list of best methods […]
This past July, all eyes were on Tokyo when over 10,000 Olympians from 206 nations descended on the city to make history. Despite a decrease in carbon emissions due to COVID-19 and fewer traveling spectators, the games still produced 2.3 million tons of CO2. In 2021, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) pledged to reduce […]
Startups across the country are on a mission to provide sustainable food packaging options and close the plastic loop, especially prompted by the pandemic take-out boom. Over 70% of Americans order delivery one to three times a week, creating hundreds of billions of single-use bowls, bags, utensils, and more. But some innovative companies have […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.