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[GreenYes] good questions on plastics recycling

Hi all,

The email below from Joelle Novey at Co-Op America poses some excellent questions concerning recycling plastics.  Does anyone have data on this? either from a national perspective or from their local/state perspective?  I'm very interested in this issue too, so please email Joelle and me directly on this.  Joelle is not on the listserv.

Thanks in advance.


Brenda Platt
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
927 15th Street, NW, 4th Fl
Washington, DC  20005
202-898-1610 ext. 230



I'm writing at the suggestion of Ann Leonard over at the Environmental
Grantmakers. I'm writing from the publications department at Co-op
America, where we're doing research for the next issue of the Co-op
America Quarterly about waste and recycling issues.

I'm hoping you can help because I'm having quite a hard time coming by
any reliable numbers about what happens nationally to the plastics
Americans "recycle."

I would like to be able to tell our readers:

1. what percentage of the plastics in their recycling bins get rejected
by the MRFs and are ultimately sent to a US landfill or incinerator.

2. Then, of those plastics recovered by the MRF and sold for
"recycling," what percentage are shipped overseas? (To what countries?)

3. And then, of those that are sent to other countries, what percentages
of these items are ultimately recycled into some other useful product
rather than dumped?

4. If the numbers are very different for different grades of plastics,
I'd be interested in those numbers too.

I would really like to be able to tell our members what is happening to
the plastics in their recycling bins -- where are these things going,
and what is being done with them?  Can you recommend any reputable
resources that have looked at this in a systematic way? I'll look
forward to hearing from you!

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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