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Recycling to fight plastic pollution?

Behind the scenes.

Recycling, which consists of recovering waste and reintroducing it, after treatment, into a production cycle, is now part of our daily lives. Most of the big industrialists seem to have integrated it, but the process is not really that virtuous.

In reality, plastic is a cheap element to produce, which explains its overuse, but it is not entirely recyclable or in any case, not recycled properly. For example, clear PET plastic is the most reusable plastic, but it still produces 30% waste and is only recyclable two or three times at most.

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An international industry

The delocalization of plastic waste is the trend that large companies have favored to the detriment of their treatment.

Indeed, Western countries send it to Asia or Indonesia, because it is cheaper. And if there is an effort to recycle, the waste is often camouflaged or stored in other everyday objects such as cups or hangers, which will themselves become new non-recyclable waste.

It is important to remember that in order to recycle effectively, one must sort properly. Sorting is an often neglected element. As a result, many plastic bottles, aluminum cans and plastic films are burned in incinerators because they are thrown away in the wrong garbage can.

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Part of the incinerated waste comes out as bottom ash. This is all the residues of the garbage that have not been burned, such as earthenware, glass or metals. In order to reduce these residues, the French use for example bottom ash, which is not too polluted, to build roads. But some analyses have shown that it contains dioxin, an organic pollutant persistent in the environment and carcinogenic. This is therefore a dangerous recycling solution for our health.

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Microplastics

Plastic debris also disrupts marine spaces. When plastic is thrown in the street or in streams, it ends up in the sea and disintegrates to create micro-plastics that are assimilated by small animals and then travel up the food chain to end up on our plates.

As an indication, an average French person ingests at least the equivalent of a bank card per week.

Plastic pollution has a real impact on the environment, but also on human beings.

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Faced with this inevitable pollution, the zero waste trend is gaining momentum and is necessary. Some companies are implementing solutions to reduce their waste and use less plastic.

Researchers in Auvergne have even found an enzyme that can break down plastic and reuse it over and over again.

At our level, we can also improve our recycling techniques such as better sorting and starting to do without disposable plastic.

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