Three Headaches for The Recycling Industry

The most advanced recycling companies of our time divert approximately 75 percent of community waste away landfills. However, they are far from their goal of achieving 100 percent; a feat that is being called Zero Waste. In order to convert such idealism into genuine action, recycling companies are facing three major obstacles: diapers, plastic bags, and juice boxes. The most significant obstacle companies encounter when attempting to recycle diapers is that they are made of composite materials. As such, diapers have more than one type of plastic and organic waste. One solution that is still in trial, suggests using curbside pickup to pull apart the various parts and clean them. Implementing this solution, has appeared to not be viable as it is too expensive. Instead, recycling consultant Gary Liss, suggests that diaper manufactures pay for the cost. The second product plaguing recycling companies are plastic bags. They often get trapped in multi-million dollar machinery and require frequent interruptions in the recycling plants in order to get rid of them. Instead, cities should follow in San Francisco’s stead and ban all plastic bags. Finally, juice boxes, much like diapers, are made of composite materials. A typical juice box is constituted of  74 percent paper, 22 percent polyethylene, and 4 percent aluminum. As such, it is hard to pull these materials apart to recycle. Manufactures should be held responsible for making their plastic juice bottles out of a single resource (such as carton) so that it is easier to recycle. Thankfully, the industry is finally beginning to address the issue.

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