Thursday, October 28, 2021

Recycle Right NY: Debunk Recycling Symbol Myth

recycle graphicIt can be confusing to navigate all of the information out there about recycling. New York’s Recycle Right NY campaign is here to help debunk two myths about the recycling symbol to help you recycle right!

Myth: “It has the recycling symbol on it so it must be accepted by my recycling program.”

Fact: Just because an item has the recycling symbol on it doesn’t mean it’s accepted by your local recycling program. That’s because the recycling symbol is not regulated, and the types of items accepted by recycling programs vary throughout the state. Next time you encounter an item you are unsure about, look beyond the three chasing arrows and check your local recycling guidelines instead.

Myth: “It has the recycling symbol on it, so it’s probably made with recycled content.”

Fact: Unfortunately, just because a product has the recycling symbol on it doesn’t mean it was made from recycled materials. Look for the phrase: “made from post-consumer recycled content” to be sure. Whenever possible, opt for goods made from recycled materials. This creates demand for the items we put in our recycling bins, increases their value, and supports our local recycling programs.

Visit the Recycle Right New York campaign website for more recycling and waste reduction tips, searchable “Is This Recyclable?” Recyclopedia ,and check your local recycling program guidelines.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

2 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Plastic Recycling is has become a ruse to enable Big Oil to continue producing petrochemicals for an industry that has been clearly out of control for decades. Plastics are incredibly useful materials, but are virtually indestructible. Even “biodegradable” plastics have fallen by the wayside because in reality, they rarely decompose, but just break into smaller pieces creating toxic microplastic pollution.

    The “industry” has purposely shifted the responsibility of recycling to the end-users WITHOUT any effort to ensure actual or eventual recyclability. Before an industry can claim recyclability, the industry needs to ensure there is infrastructure in place to be able to recycle EACH product. If there is not an infrastructure to efficiently recycle each grade of plastic, it just becomes a hot potato and is likely to end up being burned (air pollution), landfilled (water pollution), or simply dumped in the ocean – a tragic reality.

    As CONSUMERS, we need to be supporting legislation to demand that responsibility of recycling lies in the INDUSTRY, not the end user. We certainly will still need to participate, But Big Oil, the most profitable industry worldwide, needs to be responsible for its products. If it cannot create a safe product, then safer alternatives need to be implemented. But all this requires Big Money to be removed from politics. Anyone see that happening? And so it goes…

    • JB says:

      Boreas, you hit the nail on the head there with your (perhaps unintentionally Vonnegutian) commentary. Though I fear that, in our quest to replace conventional plastics, we will end up creating even more harmful or toxic substances–PLA, and its proprietary miasma of shady additives, comes to mind. Not to mention that, until we find an economical way to produce non-petroleum monomers, or we are willing to radically shift civilization-wide consumption/discard patterns, we are sunk.

      I think that the crux of the problem, above even the convenience of petrochemicals or Big Money, is the proprietary and non-transparent nature of the chemical-industrial system in general. Industrial chemical production processes are closely guarded secrets, and not even the exact composition of virtually all consumer products, even the most unprocessed “raw” plastic pellets, can be known, containing any of the potentially hundreds of thousands of commercially produced compounds. European countries, in particular Scandinavian countries, are leaps and bounds ahead of us in that regard for corporate accountability and disclosure of composition. But even they have barely scratched the surface of the petrochemical enigma. Shifts in those ideologies surrounding intellectual property are arguably the biggest impediment to any kind of movement away from current patterns of toxic consumerism–history teaches us that the upturning of ideological dogma is the most challenging and perilous endeavor that a society can undertake.

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