(July 3, 2008) — We in the United States are sorely lagging behind the other large plastics consuming countries of the world in terms of recycling.
A Perspective column by Nina Ying Sun [“U.S. lags behind in recycling,” Jan. 15, 2007, Page 6] was very informative regarding the relative recycling rates for plastics in several countries. In her column, Sun stated that “China's expanding demand for plastics fuels the recycling sector.” I question whether “expanding demand for plastics fuels the recycling sector” applies universally.
A few years ago, I started a plastics manufacturing company to make post and rail fence from 100 percent recycled plastics. I have been unable to get enough recycled plastics to meet demand for the product. Recently I have had to substitute virgin plastic for recycled plastic in order to meet customer delivery dates.
The plastics recycling rate in the U.S. is about 20 percent. That tells me that 20 percent of the population voluntarily recycles plastics. It also tells me that an external force will be required to get the other 80 percent to recycle. That external force will most likely have to be a recycle tax (just as we have a fuel tax to help build and maintain our roads).
So to all you state and federal legislators I say: Let's get busy. Only you can increase recycling rates in the United States.
Waste Not Technologies LLC