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The Fraud of Plastic Recycling

A report published by the Center for Climate Integrity has received quite a bit of exposure recently. The shocking report claimed that recycling of plastic is not an economical or feasible method of managing plastic waste.

It’s opening statement:

“Underpinning the plastic waste crisis is a campaign of fraud and deception that fossil fuel and other petrochemical companies have created and perpetuated for decades”.

In the 1950s the production of plastic drastically increased thanks to its versatility and cheap production. So, it’s no surprise that those responsible for its creation would want to capitalize on this by promoting disposability. Why create something that could last for years, when they can continue to make money by getting customers to buy it repeatedly! 

This, obviously, puts a dent in the recent sustainability conversations that have taken place. 

Plastic waste started to become a public issue in the 80s resulting in the petrochemical companies forming the Plastics Recycling Foundation in 1984 and creating the now famous chasing arrows in 1988.

Ree Logo
Our logo is based on the chasing arrows

The foundation’s role was to promote recycling, despite them knowing it’s not the solution, and ultimately continue the disposable lifestyle. 

That’s why at Ree we don’t focus only on recycling, but instead we aim to understand our clients' waste to identify items that can first be avoided/removed and then others that can be reused.

That’s not to say that recycling isn’t a vitally important part in combating waste, but the effort and the process to do it correctly is less cost effective and efficient. This is why we create bespoke systems for each client to reduce the amount of waste they generate as best we can.

Coming back to the original discussion point- Ree’s way of working over the past year has been all about highlighting the issues with the recycling industry; some through the projects we have worked on and others with articles like this. The underlying point we want to highlight is - Recycling, though, at this stage, is needed, it is not the ultimate solution. It works now because it’s a better option than sending plastic into the landfill, but as with plastic(Download full report on the CCI website), we will soon find out …..

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