BY SOFO ARCHON
One of the biggest lies people have bought into is that of plastic recycling. And that lie is causing unimaginable harm — not just to people, but to the entire planet.
Before I reveal what that lie is, it’s important to first understand what’s wrong with plastic itself.
Plastic, as we commonly know and use it, is chemically-made from toxic materials, and in such a way that it can last for hundreds or even thousands of years before it fully biodegrades. And its damaging effects are many.
For example, plastic pollution is poisoning natural habitats and killing the countless beings that live in them, including marine animals such as whales that have been found dead with their stomachs filled with indigestible plastic bags, and seabirds as well as mammals that are strangled by discarded fishing nets or six-pack rings.
Or here’s another example:
Plastic pollution has been linked to hormone disruption, developmental delays and even cancer in people, due to the unwanted consumption of microplastics — that is, plastics so small that can be invisible to the naked eye – whether from the water we drink, the food we eat or the air we breathe. In fact, it is estimated that the average human being ingests about 2,000 microplastics a week.
So, what’s the solution to plastic pollution?
Well, if you ask people, most of them will likely tell you that it’s recycling. And that’s because they have been manipulated to think that way.
Here’s the story of how that happened:
In the late 20th century, when people started to realize the serious environmental problems associated with plastic, they took to the streets to protest against its production.
But the companies producing and selling it had an ingenious idea:
To make people believe that the problem isn’t plastic itself, but plastic not being recycled, and hence to shift the blame from companies to consumers.
So they carefully crafted propaganda campaigns to advertise the importance of recycling plastic. And soon enough, they achieved their goal:
People started to believe the lie of plastic recycling – a lie that persists to this day. But here’s what they don’t understand:
Recycling doesn’t solve the problem of plastic pollution – it only delays plastic’s final disposal.
Why? Because each time plastic goes through the recycling process, its quality typically decreases, until at some point it is not suitable for recycling anymore, and eventually ends up in nature. And, considering that humanity produces hundreds of millions of tons of plastic each year, of which only about 10% is currently recycled anyway, that’s terrible news for the planet.
To make things worse, the process of plastic recycling can produce harmful chemicals. For example, when plastic is melted down to be remade into new products, it can release toxic gasses like dioxins, furans and mercury into the atmosphere.
On top of that, plastic recycling requires tremendous amounts of resources and energy to produce and power recycling machinery and other equipment, as well as to transport plastic waste to recycling facilities, thus contributing to multiple environmental issues, such as habitat destruction, climate change and biodiversity loss.
So, now you might be wondering:
If recycling is not the solution to plastic pollution, then what is?
To stop the production of plastic altogether.
Indeed, banning plastic production is the only realistic solution to plastic pollution. But for that to happen, plenty of activism is needed – not just to pressure governments to take the right decision on the matter, but most importantly to raise people’s awareness about the bullshit solution that plastic recycling is.
And everyone can help bring about that change, yourself included.