Thursday, December 9, 2010

12/3/10 - Driving Home

Did you know that the chasing arrows recycling symbol is unregulated?

Meaning: put one on my butt and no one can stop me. Doesn't mean my butt is recyclable.

I've been thinking about all the spin that is taken as truth about the recycling arrows. Watching the documentary BAG IT was the first time I got my eyes opened wide about how little actually gets recycled, and how most of our plastic waste gets shipped overseas to be burned in open air facilities, which in turn poisons the people working for pennies a day to deal with our garbage.

This re-melting also poisons the air, water, and soil of the foreign country who bought our dirty plastic. Because manufacturers want virgin plastic, or plastic nurdles to be used in the making of their packaging.
I got home from my trip last week and saw that my friend Harry who writes The Flotsam Diaries had been thinking about the same thing. He did such an amazing job of dispelling many of the recycling myths that I want him to get full credit, and for you to go to his website right now and read his post, "The Downward Spiral, or "The Triangle is a Lie."" Please.

Careful, you may not be able to close your eyes after this one.

"** The American Chemistry Council loves to talk up the value of plastic recycling. Look for their symbol on many recycling Web sites. Also look for them as sponsors of recycling initiatives nationwide. But their own fact sheets dispell the myth. 50+% of recycled #4 plastic was sold to developing nations in 2008. Many have much lower standards for their plastics and permit very contaminated plastics to be melted together and used in food packaging. Each grocery bag you recycle may be poisoning a family somewhere on the other side of the world." - The Flotsam Diaries

This post is a little light on the gritty truth for me, but may help you dispell some of the recycling myths further. It is a practicle giude to which numbers are recycled, into what, and how often.