Teaching old plastics new tricks?

So my city has started a new incentive based recycling program. This new program gives chosen residents a fancy new larger bin, weighs the recyclables, and returns redeemable “points” based on the amount recycled. Nifty, eh?


(Unfortunately, my three blocks seems to have been left out of the program, but that’s a story for another day.)

The real reason I’m writing this post is that in discussing this program with my neighbors, it appears that the city claims they can accept ALL 7 numbers of plastic.
Wait, what? All 7 numbers aren’t recyclable, right? Well, right. They aren’t. So why is my city accepting them? I was confused as well, and I came up with some possible answers:

1. The city contracts out to other facilities to recycle things their current facility cannot handle.
This is the official line of the city, which is great except I wasn’t aware anyone could recycle all 7 numbers.

2. They’re storing them until such time as they figure out a use for them. Now, this makes a little more sense because the city actually has to pay money to get rid of trash collected. I guess they’d also have to pay to store it, but them maybe they have spare warehouses lying around?

3. Slightly more nefarious, some sources hint that plastics manufacturers are paying for plastic pickup in order to combat negative public perception of plastic use. The plastics still wind up being burnt or landfilled. Not good.

4. Speaking of burnt, maybe they’re keeping them until such time as this system is perfected and they build warehouse sized microwaves? (altho I have to say, reading this article makes me more determined than ever to not use plastic containers in my microwave…ICK)

5. Or maybe, just maybe, they’ll use the plastics to make raw materials for machines like this one:

(image via maclife)

Bottom line is that I have no idea what they’re doing with these plastics, but when my friend Cody gets back from vacation, we’re taking a field trip over to the fancy new facility because we’re both curious!
Hopefully I’ll find some better answers, so stay tuned!

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3 thoughts on “Teaching old plastics new tricks?

  1. Pingback: Finally! Recycling for the bars in the Village! « lorigami

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