The American Chemistry Council — the same industry trade association that funded two studies "misrepresent[ing] the hazards of bisphenol A" — is setting its sights on making plastic bags with 40 percent recycled content by 2015.
It's both good news and a shrewd public relations campaign, but according to the ACC, there are two major factors that must be first addressed:
1. The manufacturing process will need to be completely revamped, so the plastic bag industry plans to invest $50 million toward this effort
2. More plastic bags will need to be collected to provide the additional recycled content (but no specific numbers have been mentioned)
With 100 billion plastic bags being used once or twice in the U.S. annually, there is no shortage of bags to collect. But thanks to municipal and state recycling programs and outright bans, plastic bag recycling has already increased by 27 percent from 2005 to 2007. That's 830 million pounds of non-biodegradable bags being diverted from landfills, marine habitats and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and converted into pellets, bags and plastic lumber.
The ACC's 2015 target anticipates an additional 300 million pounds of waste reduction per year.
Funny enough, the ACC notes that the growing popularity of reusable bags could be an impediment. But this just means that people should just generate less plastic waste whenever possible, reuse or recycle plastic bags instead of discarding them, and to continue with the good habit of using a waste-less bag, instead of plastic.
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