With our plastic dependency growing and rate of recycling decreasing, it's crucial to make the tough but necessary switch to reusables.
We live in a plastic-saturated world, and it seems that our dependency on plastics only increases along with growing consumerism and the desire for convenience. At the same time, however, the amount of used plastic being recycled is minimal compared to how much gets thrown away – a mere 9 percent in 2012 – and that number has been dropping over recent years.
In the posts I’ve written for TreeHugger about living as zero-waste a life as possible, I’ve said many times how recycling needs to stop being a feel-good solution for excessive waste production. Just because a single-use plastic container gets tossed in the recycling bin doesn’t mean it’s going to be taken care of in a timely and environmentally friendly fashion. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Recycling is highly unreliable, involves convoluted shipping between facilities, and fails to happen to the majority of plastics. Most seriously of all, plastics can never be fully recycled and returned to their original form. They are always down-cycled into a lesser form of themselves until they can no longer be recycled anymore and end up being landfilled. This is totally different from metal, glass, and wood, which always maintain their integrity through the recycling process.
CustomMade has released an infographic that does an excellent job of illustrating our plastic addiction problem and showing the actual terrifying numbers. It suggests practical ways in which to reduce that unhealthy dependency.