An escalator with a pile of plastic bottles at the factory for processing and recycling.
With all those blue recycling bins around you might think we are experts at recycling plastics. The truth is, that though many plastic items can be recycled, very few are. So what's the solution?
The market for plastic recycling is drying up, prompting a discussion over what to do with household waste.
Incineration of household waste has gotten a bad name, argues an economist, who sees today's recycling crisis as an opportunity to reconsider how the U.S. handles its waste.
Debris pulled from a Lake Erie marina during a cleanup, June 9, 2012.
NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
Roughly 10,000 tons of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year, and scientists want to know where it ends up. There are some parallels to ocean plastics, but also important differences.
Conveyors carry mixed plastic into a device that will shred recycle them at a plastics recycling plant in Vernon, California.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon,File
Since China stopped importing 'foreign garbage' in March 2018, scrap – especially plastic – has built up in the US. Will this shock trigger long-overdue investments in plastic recycling here?
Food packaging is one of the top uses for plastic in consumer goods.
Bio-based plastics made from natural sources break down more easily than conventional plastic, without producing toxic byproducts. But for this to happen they have to be composted, not buried in landfills.
Used once and done.
Research is yielding strategies for making plastics greener and more sustainable. But without support as they scale up, new versions will struggle to compete with well-established synthetic plastics.
A postcard from the 1950s advertises a variety Tupperware products.
You know you've hit it big when your designs find their way into millions of kitchens – and the Museum of Modern Art.
Microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea.
By Dirk Wahn/shutterstock.com
Microplastics are everywhere--our water, soil, and even the air we breathe. The consequences of this exposure on human health is unknown. But studies in animals give us reason to worry.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used in a variety of applications from plumbing to health care to electronics.
By SIRIKANLAYA KHLIBNGERN/shutterstock.com
The most common explanation for obesity is overeating calorie-rich foods and a sedentary lifestyle. But new studies suggest that chemicals in our environment might be another cause.
One plastic is particularly well-suited for the kitchen’s extreme temperatures.
Kitchens are like mini laboratories, with foods and utensils exposed to extreme temperatures. So it's no surprise that a material used for Mars missions has found its way into a range of cooking ware.
Millions of tons of plastic are manufactured every year.
In 2015, over 320 million tons of polymers, excluding fibers, were manufactured across the globe.