How much of our trash consists of single serving stuff like plastic forks, cups, sandwich bags, chip bags, straws?
I have no idea.
But lots of our litter consists of it.
Here are some plastic bottles from ten minutes worth of cleaning up from under the bleachers at the rec center.
And here’s the depressing news about plastic bottles – they don’t really get recycled.
The new word is downcycled.
You think of recycling as a closed loop system right? Like those little connecting arrows encircling the plastic’s material container code on the bottom of a bottle, milk carton, laundry detergent, container, etc.
You recycle the bottle and it gets turned into something new right?
Except that it doesn’t get turned into a new bottle – it gets turned into lumber or decking or Levi jeans or polar fleece. And after that – it doesn’t get recycled again.
Meanwhile new plastic bottles still need to be created.
So what’s the solution?
Drink water out of the tap by sticking your face in the sink – duh.
Okay – seriously – there’s no easy answer but if you want to travel and bring your own water, or mix up some sports drink from a powdered mix, that still comes in a plastic container but mixes up to make many servings instead of just one, here are some sites (courtesy of Beth Terry’s book Plastic Free) that sell glass or stainless steel water bottles and coffee mugs.
You’ll have to wrestle with your own conscious on whether or not you want the stainless steel or glass bottles with the plastic lids or not.