The proliferation and use of plastics has had terrible environmental consequences on our earthly homeland for many years; however, the economics of plastics packaging has overcome our better judgment when it comes to pollution prevention. What will it take for humanity to give up its plastic habit? Below are newsworthy developments in the wide world of plastics pollution and recovery.

Help for Community Recycling Programs
We don’t recommend that communities change their recycling programs because of the recent China Ban, but we do recommend that they take some time to review their education and outreach programs. The American Chemistry Council, an organization that represents producers of plastic resins, has created a “Terms & Tools” resource to help communities educate residents about which plastics can be recycled and best practices. It has a tool for building a customized flyer for your community, with recommendations on the best terminology to use. See it HERE.

Working on it…
In December, Recycling Today reported that Closed Loop Partners is working with Ocean Conservancy, the Trash Free Seas Alliance, 3M, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, The Coca Cola Co., the American Chemistry Council and the World Plastics Council in an initiative called Closed Loop Oceans. Research indicates that nearly half of plastic debris in the earth’s oceans originates from five fast growing economies in Asia -Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and China. Incredibly, 99% of the plastic in the ocean can’t be accounted for, leading to the conclusion that animals are eating much of it, mistaking it for food. The initiative will focus on galvanizing investment in waste management and recycling solutions in Southeast Asia.

Resource Recycling recently reported that Dow Chemical is partnering with Indonesia to recycle post-consumer plastics into asphalt for use in road pavement. 3.5 metric tons of recovered plastic were mixed into asphalt, which was used to create a mile-long stretch of test road in West Java late last year. The resulting pavement is “more resistant to deformation and fatigue-cracking than standard asphalt”.

Closer to Home
An initiative from the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) of the American Chemistry Council called Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP) was launched in Omaha last month to capture more plastic wraps and bags, including grocery bags, produce bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags and food storage bags. Other materials accepted include plastic wraps for beverage cases, diapers, bathroom tissue and paper towels, plus bubble wrap and shipping film. Four Hy-Vee grocery stores participated in the launch. To find a drop-off location near you, visit: