I had hoped some others might respond with the info you seek. I have some other ideas as well.
Maybe the approach could be that the problems and challenges for recycling still provide ample opportunities for businesses, scientists, inventors, etc. to find ways to solve our crises.
Perhaps your article could help energize the Coop America Business Network and others to seek cultural, economic, political, and/or market-based solutions!
Here's a thought for you to explore: "all plastic is recyclable". I think most on this list would have valid arguments with this statement but let me explain. Although the statement itself is essentially true, the reality is that we still lack some recycling infrastructure to make it possible.
So many problems --- so many opportunities to make a difference.
I do think the vast majority of plastic that is collected for recycling in the US and around the world gets made into something. Of course, proper collection, sorting, baling, transportation, and processing helps make the containers, bags, etc. suitable for highest possible use.
Have you tried the American Plastics Council?
or Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers
Trex is composite decking (wood alternative) made from post-consumer and/or post-industrial reclaimed plastic and waste wood. The reclaimed plastic comes primarily from grocery sacks (both HDPE and LDPE) and stretch film (pallet wrap/LLDPE), and the waste wood is from woodworking manufacturers (sawdust).
"Plastic Lumber" is generally 100% post-consumer HDPE (#2) blow-molded containers.
Check out Murray Fox's company "I-Rock Industries" http://www.i-rockonline.com/ They cold-extrude co-mingled plastics!
There are so many exciting advancements happening every day.
p.s.: I would love to have more sources for post-consumer polypropylene (PP-5)
On Thu, 19 Jul 2007 19:34:58 -0000, Alissa wrote:
> I'm writing from the Co-op America publications department, where we
> are putting together our next issue of the Co-op America Quarterly,
> which will focus on garbage and recycling issues.
>> From what I've read, it seems as if a very small percentage of the
> plastic containers that consumers are putting out on the curb for
> recycling are actually finding a second life as any sort of end-use
> product, and that #3 through #7 plastics have particularly low
> of being re-formed into anything. I'm also learning that a high
> percentage of our plastic "recycling" ends up in China and other
> developing countries, where it may be recycled under very unsafe
> conditions, or simply burned or dumped into landfills.
> So -- I am looking for a reputable source of national information
> would put some numbers to these generalizations. (The Ecology
> Center's Plastic Task Force Report is exactly the sort of resource
> looking for, but their numbers are from 1996.) Can anyone help me
> this down?
> 1. What percentage of each number of plastic that is "recycled" in
> US actually finds its way to some second life as a recycled product
> opposed to eventually being dumped or incinerated?
> 2. Are there some numbers of plastic that consumers should know are
> essentially impossible to recycle profitably and will almost
> be eventually landfilled or incinerated regardless of whether their
> municipality is willing to pick it up with curbside recycling or
> 3. What percentage of the plastic Americans "recycle" ends up
> shipped to other countries? And once in other countries, what
> percentage of this exported plastic waste gets dumped rather than
> recycled in some way?
> 4. Many supermarkets collect plastic bags in a recycling receptacle.
>> From what I've been able to learn, these plastic bags are getting
> bales with commingled plastics and shipped overseas -- then what?
> Does anyone have any solid statistics about the chances that a
> bag that a consumer "recycles" at their Whole Foods or other
> supermarket in an American city will end up in some new product as
> opposed to being dumped or burned?
> In cooperation,
> Joelle G. Novey, Editorial Associate
> Co-op America: Economic Action for a Just Planet
> 1612 K St NW Washington DC 20006
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