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Are you wasting your time recycling


Recycling can help you feel better in a small way regarding your part in preventing an apocalypse on the planet . The planet is already producing 2 trillion pounds worth of garbage every year, and it is set to increase that number by to a trillion annually in the next decade in accordance with World Bank data. A recent study revealed that the top 20 chemical companies worldwide in the group Exxon Mobil and Dow, are responsible for 55% of plastic waste that is single-use in the world including for the U.S., specifically, we are producing around 50 kg of plastic waste each year, per person.

The Covid pandemic has brought more interest in the issue because the use of disposable items increased anywhere between 30% and 50 percent, according Tom Szaky, CEO of the recycling firm TerraCycle and the reuse company Loop and CNBC’s Leslie Picker on a recent CNBC Evolve Livestream discussing sustainable business and sustainability. He believes that the macroeconomics of the waste management systems that are suffering economically are real and there are solutions to tackle the problem that do not rely on the government. Everyone should take more seriously how we can recycle more than just the blue bin, and how could we do help get over the issues.

Szaky claims that the recent coverage of the economics of plastics recycling as well as restrictions across the globe on imports of recyclables, both impacting the industry and aren’t an environmental attack, but “absolutely rooted in facts.”

He believes it is crucial for people to realize that recycling an item, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be recycled at the end.

“What is it that makes something recyclable in a nation doesn’t need to do with how we think about that it can be recycled? The majority of things that we throw into blue garbage bins which can’t be recycled end up in the trash since they’re things that which waste companies aren’t able to make money from, and that’s the bottleneck that is real,” he said.

The proper question to ask is “Can a garbage company, the actual company in charge of the recycling in the geography, recycle it at a profit?”

It is the CNBC Evolve Global Summit is set to take place on June 16, 2021.

According to Szaky what’s been happening is a profit model that has been declining because prices for oil have dropped since 2015 and continued after a recovery in the commodities market post-Covid, are still low when compared to previous trends. The petrochemicals firms that manufacture plastics rely less on recyclables as the cost of their main product oil is lower. Then, China stopped importing recyclable waste, which was which was followed by other countries in the year 2018.

Both are vital for the model of business recycling and to the quality of the infrastructure since they are linked in relation to how much demand is for recycling these material kinds.

“And it all hurt the business construct for recycling companies and that means our recycling capabilities are deteriorating,” Szaky stated. “Recycling is not out there trying to do the best it can but maximize profit and we need to think about that as we aim for a more circular economy,” Szaky said.

  1. A major trend in the packaging industry is preventing recycling

The most significant worldwide trend in packaging isn’t aiding. The efforts to cut costs for packaging and products have been “objectively reducing value” Szaky stated, “which also makes them less recyclable.”

This “lightweighting” of packages, that makes them less physical material and greater complex due to this design challenge, renders it less profitable to recycle them.


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Jane S. King

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