Bill Nye Demystifies Single-Use Plastic Recycling With Coca-Cola
Did you see Bill Nye’s collaboration with The Coca-Cola Company?
While surfacing the importance of end-of-life product care increases awareness to the masses, our current state of recycling isn’t perfect.
It's time to demystify a few more things about recycling plastics
1. Plastic can only be broken down and remade into recycled products two to three times before the quality is unusable.
2. Because recycled plastic is more expensive and lower quality than new plastic, experts say it's unlikely to overtake virgin plastic production. Less than 10% of all plastic waste worldwide has ever been recycled.
3. Downcycling is where recycled materials are mixed with virgin materials to make a new product, such as fleece fibers or lumber products. After it wears out, downcycled products likely head to the landfill.
4. Wishcycling is when items are put into the recycling bin, hoping they will be recycled. In reality, this causes contamination and may ruin the whole batch. Did you know 22% of items in the recycling bin are thrown away? “When in doubt, throw it out.”
5. Although recycling offers another life of use to the material, recycling plants are getting their power from fossil fuels. This is why we voice the importance of choosing reusables whenever possible.
But surely, since we created this material, it’s under our control, right?
Regrettably, plastic finds itself from the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana Trench, to the highest point in the world, at the summit of Mount Everest.
Even if we do our due diligence and recycle every plastic product we touch, it wouldn't prevent plastics from shedding microscopic bits and leaching invisible chemicals.
Scientists found specific types of harm in our bodies – cell death, allergic response, and damage to cell walls – all caused by ingested microplastics.
Micro and nanoplastics are present:
In fact, recycled bottles may leach even more chemicals into their beverages than virgin plastic bottles do…
Although recycling gives a second or third life to plastics, recycling only delays disposal; and doesn't protect our health from microplastic pollution.
No matter how much Coca-Cola recycles, it will be part of the problem as long as it keeps using single-use plastic.
As a collective, we deserve to know the state of our current recycling system so we can choose better.
The world could become a healthier place with informed and intentional decisions on the products we choose to incorporate into day-to-day life.