PLastic bottle recycling plant

How much plastic is really recycled?

In the US, a staggering 91% of plastic waste is landfilled or incinerated! Ninety-one percent! That’s bonkers.

Many US municipalities are struggling with the amount of recycling waste produced. Philadelphia ends up burning half of people’s kerbside recycling. That’s half the stuff people have taken the time to recycle, gone up in smoke.

The EU is at the forefront of recycling, yet it still bins and burns 58% of plastic packaging.

Despite the UK's best efforts, recycling rates for plastic bottles have remained unchanged for the last 5 years at 57%.

The bad news doesn’t end there…

Much of the plastic you conscientiously put in your recycling bin is really downcycled to make material such as clothing fibres. 35% of recycled PET in Europe becomes synthetic fibres and strapping. Each time synthetic fabric is washed it releases plastic microfibres into the water system. Argh!

The plastic that truly is recycled, is usually only recycled 2 or 3 times. Each time plastic is recycled, the polymer chains shorten, reducing its quality until it’s bin and burn time. One sustainable manufacturer plans to get 7-10 cycles out of PET (bottle plastic) before seeing an impact, which is a significant improvement.

By contrast, both stainless steel and glass are infinitely recyclable without any reduction in quality. That means every time one of these materials comes to the end of it's life as one thing it can be turned into something else.

Infinitely recyclable plastics, currently in the research phase, may bring plastic recycling nearer to a closed loop. In the meantime, choosing a reusable stainless steel water bottle (or glass if you prefer) would not only help you to protect the planet from single use plastics now, it is a better option for a move towards a more circular economy.

Ohelo vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottles in plain white and yellow bee designs in a forest setting

Ready to start making a difference? Shop now for one of our stainless steel water bottles - durable, reliable, easy to use and ethically made. The bottles the planet has been waiting for!

If you'd like to know more:
House of Commons Report: Plastic bottles Turning Back the Plastic Tide
House of Commons Report: Disposable Packaging Coffee Cups
National Audit Office: The packaging recycling obligations
Eurostat plastic packaging recycling stats
US EPA National Overview: Facts and Figures on Materials, Wastes and Recycling
The Inquirer - At least half of Philly's recycling goes straight to the incinerator
PCI Wood Mackenzie PET recycle survey

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